Accra, Sept 17, GNA - Dr. Gheysika A. Agambila, Deputy Minister of Environment and Science on Friday called for the strict adherence to the law that restricted and regulated the importation of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) and Products.
In an address to mark the World Ozone Day, Dr Agambila said the upsurge in the importation of used ODS based equipment, illegal importation of Chloro Fluoro Carbon (CFC) and the apathy of the public on ozone depleting issues, were great challenges towards saving the depletion of the ozone layer.
He said it was for Ghana to protect the ozone layer that the National Ozone Depleting Substances and Product Regulations LI 1812 was passed to provide a strong support to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its network of institutions to competently regulate the importation of equipment and substances controlled under the Montreal Protocol.
This year's day is being marked under the theme: "Act Ozone Friendly and Stay Sun Safe," as the UN endorsed efforts the international community would play to safeguard the ozone layer and to further raise public awareness on its protection.
Dr. Agambila explained that a thin lining that protected harmful radiation from the sun from reaching the earth directly is known as ozone layer and its depletion meant the outbreak of cancers, eye infections and low crop yield, among others. He said Ghana, in solidarity with more than 189 countries, had resolved in 1987, under a Montreal Protocol, to ensure the reduction and eventually elimination of the production and use of man-made ODS. "This vision has fervently been pursued by member countries and they have committed themselves to phase out the production and consumption of ODS," he added.
The Deputy Minister said although Ghana's effort has yielding efforts in the depletion of the layer through the control of the refrigeration sector which has been reduced from 1101.4 Ozone Depleting Potential (ODP) in 1991 to 35.58 ODP tonnes in 2004 and from 24 ODP tonnes in 1991 to zero in 1996 in the foam sector, there was still more to be done.
He attributed the success story to the UNDP implementation project, which provided friendly alternatives to the control of pests in cocoa beans, other than the use of the chemical known as the Methyl Bromide. He cautioned importers that mislabelled of refrigerators to outwit customs that it was an offence to do that and it could attract heavy fines and prison sentences.
Dr. Agambila said government was doing all it could to help users of all ODS make the needed transition in using non-ozone depleting chemicals in an environmentally sound manner.
Mr. Jonathan Allotey, Executive Director, EPA, stated that a total of 34 commercial cold storage facilities nation-wide have been converted from the use of Chloro Fuloro Carbon based refrigerants to ozone-friendly alternatives, resulting in the phase out of 3.1 metric tonnes of CFCs.
He said in the Mobile Air-conditioning (MAC) sector, 6.2 metric tonnes of CFC, which otherwise would have been emitted into the atmosphere has been recovered and recycled to date.
He however, said activities geared towards ensuring the eradication of ODS had been made possible through funding from the Multilateral Fund established 15 years ago to ensure the achievement of Montreal Protocol. This fund has supported activities worth more than 1.5 billion dollars, thereby helping more than 130 developing countries to meet their obligations to reduce the production and consumption of ODS. He said Ghana's success story could be complete if the public became more informed and responsible in insisting on the use of non-ozone friendly products and chemicals.