Importers reminded of total ban on used refrigeration equipment

Government on Monday reminded importers and retailers of a total ban on the importation of used refrigeration equipment effective January 1, 2013.

The ban is to push further Ghana’s agenda of achieving her “phase-out” targets in line with the Montreal Protocol, Ms Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, said on Wednesday.

This was contained in a speech read on her behalf at the 25th Anniversary of the Montreal Protocol in Ho on the theme: “Protecting the Atmosphere for the Generations to Come.”

The Day was also used to mark the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.

Montreal Protocol is an international treaty to phase-out the production and consumption of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS).

Ms Ayittey said the ban was necessary to protect Ghana’s successes in reducing the consumption of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) in refrigeration from 101.4 ODP tonnes in 1991 to zero ODP tonnes in January 2010 and from 24 ODP tonnes in 1991 to zero ODP tonnes in the foam sector since 1996.

She said government, in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Energy Commission, was helping users of ODS make transition to use non-ozone depleting chemicals in an environmentally sound manner.

Ms Ayittey said one such arrangement was the registration of retailers and importers of used refrigerators and freezers and the issuance of importation quotas to control quantities of such equipment in the country between June and December this year prior to total ban in January 2013.

Ms Ayittey said Ghana’s main challenge was apathy among the citizenry on ozone depletion issues.

She commended the UNDP and the Multilateral Fund for their support to developing countries towards meeting their obligations under the Protocol.

Mr Daniel Amlalo, Executive Director of the EPA, said a number of programmes had been instituted to convert to ozone friendly alternatives in the country.

These included awareness creation, training of technicians and engineers in good refrigeration practices and financial assistance to owners of CFC based cold storage facilities to convert to ozone friendly alternatives.

He said over 600 refrigeration technicians and engineers had been introduced to hydrocarbon refrigeration technology, a win-win for both Ozone Layer and Global Climate.

Mr Amlalo said after January 2013, importers who import refrigeration equipment into the country without being issued with HCFC quotas would be made to re-export them to the countries of origin and also face sanctions under the law.

Dr Jeremais Blasser, a Deputy Director at the UNDP office in Accra, commended government for the successes chalked and encouraged it to remain committed to the “path the original signatories committed themselves to.”

CFCs in refrigeration equipment have been identified as the ozone layer depleting substance which reduces the ability of that layer to absorb ultraviolet radiation from the sun and prevent the sun’s radiation from harming human beings, plants and the environment.

CFCs are also found in some deodorants, pesticides and weed-killers.

Cancer, cataract and reduction in human immunity are some of the consequences of higher exposure to the sun’s radiation.

Source: GNA

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