Koforidua, May 6, GNA - Ghana has so far obtained 198,000 US dollars from the Montereal Protocol's Multilateral Fund to promote international efforts aimed at changing from the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) contained refrigerants found to be a main cause of the depletion of the ozone layer.
The fund was established under the agreement to help developing countries, which were signatories, to embark on programmes aimed at the phasing out of the use of CFCs refrigerants worldwide by the 2010 deadline.
The Project Co-ordinator of the Ozone Office of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mr Osae Quansah, announced these at a day's seminar on awareness creation on causes and impact of Ozone layer depletion. for government institutions and stakeholders at Koforidua on Thursday.
He said the amount had enabled the EPA to embark on measures to phase out over 24 tonnes of CFCs since 1997 and replacing them with alternative hydrocarbons.
According to Mr Quansah, the Agency had being issuing permits to only three companies; Platinum Impex Limited, Eastern Point Ghana Limited and Nak-Na Electricals Enterprise to import CFCs into the country, under a quota system.
He said the EPA had so far trained over 200 Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), officials at the country's frontiers to enable them to check the illegal importation of mislabelled CFCs into the country, adding that over 500 cylinders had been impounded from companies and individuals through periodic monitoring.
Mr Quansah said Ghana was "a leading compliant signatory to the Protocol", and that over 4,000 refrigeration mechanics had been trained by the Agency on how to change from CFCs usage to other alternative hydro carbons, while 35 cold stores in the country, including three in Koforidua, had their CFC plants also changed.
He also said the EPA had distributed 16 recovery and recycling equipment to major car air-conditioning workshops nationwide and urged owners of refrigeration equipment to ensure that they were changed from CFC to the "Ozone saving" hydrocarbons.
A Consultant on the project, Mr Johnson B. Hasford, urged Ghanaians to contribute towards the checking of Ozone depletion activities and attributed the rising cases of eye cataract, low crop yield, heated environment as some of the effects of the ozone depletion.