By Staff Reporter
…… after 34 years
DARWENDALE – Government through the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry’s Climate Change Management Department moves in phasing out hydrochlorofluorocarbons( HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) to eliminate the production and use of the ozone-depleting substances as encouraged by the Montreal Protocol of 1987.
In a speech which was read on his behalf during the National Ozone Unit media workshop in Darwendale Norton last week, Director in the Department of Climate Change Management, Mr Washington Zhakata said the implementation of the HCFC Phase-out Management Plan stage l was completed with stage ll being expected to commence.
“It is with pleasure that I address this gathering of media practitioners at this workshop on the implementation of the Montreal Protocol in Zimbabwe. The Government of Zimbabwe completed the implementation of Stage I of the Hydro-chlorofluorocarbon Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) and applied for funding for Stage II HPMP implementation.
“I am happy to inform you that the Stage II HPMP Project was approved during the 86th meeting of the Executive Committee of the Multilateral Fund. The Stage II HPMP implementation will see the country reducing its HCFC consumption by 67.5% in 2025 and completely phasing out the use of HCFC by 2030,” he said.
Zhakata noted that HCFCs were still extensively used in refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) in Zimbabwe indicating that his Ministry was working closely with different stakeholders to ensure the country complies with the HCFC phase-out schedules under the Montreal Protocol of 1987.
He urged the media to come up with strong recommendations that will enable a smooth flow of information on the implementation of the Montreal Protocol to all stakeholders.
Mr Zhakata added that the media should sensitise stakeholders on developments under the Montreal Protocol and help the country to remain in compliance with the Montreal Provisions.
“The Montreal Protocol is safeguarding the stratospheric ozone layer as well as the global climate system. We have therefore invited you, media practitioners, as our important stakeholders to assist in disseminating this information to the generality of the users of HCFCs so that they are not surprised when the total ban on imports of these substances comes into effect on the 1st January 2030.”
Importers, he said, were not fully aware of the provisions of the licensing system for importers of controlled substances and appliances thus the need for the media to disseminate information in relation to that.
“The NOU is always inundated with late applicants from importers whose goods will have been seized at ports of entry as aresult of lack of knowledge regarding the licensing system. It is your duty, media practitioners, to inform importers to submit the applications well in advance of shipment of goods to avoid unnecessary delays and heavy penalties.”
It has been learnt that to control imports of these controlled substances, the government introduced a licensing and quota system for controlling and monitoring trade in these substances.
The ministry is also working closely with Customs Officers of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority to combat the illegal trade in these substances and a number of training workshops have been conducted for customs officers to equip them with skills and knowledge to combat ODS and HFC trade.
As part of efforts to reduce the availability of HCFCs as the world adopts HCFC alternative technologies which are ozone and climate friendly, Zhakata said his Ministry was conducting intensive training workshops for refrigeration and air conditioning practitioners on safe use of hydrocarbons throughout the country.
The Montreal Protocol is an international agreement made in 1987. It was designed to stop the production and import of ozone depleting substances and reduce their concentration in the atmosphere to help protect the earth’s ozone layer.
The Montreal Protocol sits under the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer (the Vienna Convention). The Vienna Convention was adopted in 1985 following international discussion of scientific discoveries in the 1970s and 1980s highlighting the adverse effect of human activity on ozone levels in the stratosphere and the discovery of the ‘ozone hole’. Its objectives are to promote cooperation on the adverse effects of human activities on the ozone layer.
16 September is International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. It celebrates the anniversary of the day the Montreal Protocol came into effect.
The Montreal Protocol is widely considered as the most successful environment protection agreement. It sets out a mandatory timetable for the phase out of ozone depleting substances. This timetable has been reviewed regularly, with phase out dates accelerated in accordance with scientific understanding and technological advances.