Zimbabwe. The country is on course to achieve total elimination of imports of ozone depleting substances by the end of this year in compliance with the Montreal Protocol, a senior Government official has said.
Speaking at a media workshop on the protection of the ozone layer in Harare recently, the Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources Management Ms Florence Nhekairo said Zimbabwe would beat the January 2010 deadline set by the protocol.
“Over the past few years imports of ODS have been gradually decreasing in conformity with the provisions of the Montreal Protocol. “Current imports of chloroflourocarbon refrigerants are largely going into replacing the quantities that would have escaped into the atmosphere through leaks and bad servicing practices.
“My ministry therefore realised the need to train refrigeration service technicians in good refrigeration practices and encouraged the use of recycled and reclaimed refrigerants,” she said in speech read on her behalf by the ministry’s director in charge of the environment Mr Irvine Kunene.
She said it was in this light that customs officers were trained and equipped with skills to monitor and combat illegal trade in ODS. Through these practices, he said, Zimbabwe reduced CFC consumption from a baseline level of 451 ozone depleting potential tonnes in 1998 to seven tonnes in 2008.
Zimbabwe does not produce any of the substances listed under the protocol and all emissions are from imported products. These substances are used mostly in agriculture, particularly in tobacco seedbeds and stored grain fumigation, refrigeration and air conditioning, fire fighting and in cleaning.
The workshop was designed to raise media awareness on the causes and effects of ozone layer depletion and provide information and understanding on the types of ODS used in Zimbabwe.
The Montreal Protocol calls for a phased reduction and eventual elimination of man-made ODS and was signed in 1987.