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16.09.2004 Business & Finance

Chemical importers asked to cut down on import of CFC products

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Accra, Sept. 16, GNA - The Ministry of Environment and Science and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday reminded all chemical importers to cut their import of CFC products.

A statement signed by E.O. Nsenkyire, Chief Director of the Ministry to mark the implementation of International Day for Preservation of the Ozone Layer, noted that the implementation of quotas for CFC imports had been operational since January 2003. Under the Montreal Protocol, it was agreed that developing countries should freeze their consumption of CFCs at the 1995-97 average levels by July 1, 1999. Ghana's annual consumption of CFCs after July 1, 1999 should therefore be phased out by 2010.

"The ozone layer is still fragile and the battle to protect it can only be won with the continued support of all sectors of society," it said. "There is the urgent need for us to rededicate ourselves to the challenging task of ensuring a permanent restoration of the ozone layer."

The statement said the government, through the EPA, was doing its part to help users of all ozone depleting substances (ODS) make the needed transition in using non-ozone depleting chemicals. It said three polyurethane foam factories had been assisted technically and financially in substituting the use of CFC as a blowing agent in the manufacture of flexible foam with methylene chloride and introduced to environmental quality control measures to ensure occupational health and safety of workers.

In the refrigeration sector, a number of technicians had been trained in code of good practices, including recovery and recycling of ODS, to prevent the wanton discharge of ODS into the atmosphere. A refrigerant management plan project is also underway, which includes an incentive package for CFC end-users to convert their equipment to non-CFC alternative. The statement said recovery and recycling equipment had also been distributed to deserving workshops to minimise CFC emissions. The ozone layer shields the earth from most of the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation and its depletion could lead to rising rates of skin cancers, eye cataracts, reduction in crop yields, suppression of the human immune system as well as the possible extinction of certain organisms.