Wednesday, October 20, 2021

World Ozone Day: Minister Highlights Efforts At Phasing Out ODS

Barr. Sharon Ikeazor
The Minister of State for Environment, Barr. Sharon Ikeazor.

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the 2021 World Ozone Day, the Minister of State for Environment, Barr. Sharon Ikeazor, has highlighted some conscious steps taken by Nigeria to phase out ozone depleting substances (ODS) in the country.

She said the Ministry of Environment in collaboration with UNDP, UNIDO, GIZ, World Bank and UNEP, as the implementing agencies, had been implementing the Montreal Protocol’s Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) phase out programme in the country in recent years.

The World Ozone Day is an annual event that commemorates the date of the signing of the Montreal Protocol (MP) on substances that deplete the ozone layer, in 1987.

Over the past three decades, the Montreal Protocol, one of the most successful global environmental agreements to date, has provided a platform for more than 198 countries to work together on phasing out ODS, thus, protecting the ozone layer, from incalculable destruction worsened by ‘exploitative’ activities of man.

The theme for this year’s World Ozone Day, which is ‘Montreal Protocol – keeping us, our food and vaccines cool,’ seeks to highlight the broader impact of the Montreal Protocol, which is doing a lot in helping to reduce the impact of climate change, through its Kigali Amendment on October 15, 2016, on the phase down of hydrofluorocarbons–the potent green house gases (GHGs) used as refrigerants.

According to Ikeazor, under the amendment, nations have committed to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) a potent GHGs. Reducing their use (as refrigerants) as agreed, is expected to avoid up to 0.4°C of global temperature rise by the end of the century, while continuing to protect the ozone layer. 

“In line with the Protocol’s ODS phase-out schedule, we have converted the technology line of over 700 enterprises in the foam, refrigeration and air conditioning, aerosols, fire protection and solvent-making industries to ozone friendly ones. This has facilitated the 100 per cent phasing out of over 4000 metric tonnes of both the actual ozone depleting substances, and those with high ozone depletion potentials such as CFCs, halons, carbon tetrachloide and methyl bromide. 

“In addition, we identified 26 institutions (polytechnics and government technical colleges) that offer refrigeration and air conditioning courses and equipped them to serve as training centers on good refrigeration practices. 

“We have also trained the trainers from the identified centers and developed training manuals on good refrigeration practices. These have led to the training of more than 10,000 refrigeration technicians in the cooling sector.

“In furtherance, we also completed and commissioned an upgraded System House at Vitapur Nig. Ltd (a subsidiary of Vitafoam Nig Ltd), for the formulation of ozone-friendly systems in the manufacture of rigid polyurethane foam in 2020,” she said.

A statement by the ministry’s director of press, Saghir el Mohammed, quoted Ikeazor as saying, in the ministry’s efforts to further protect the ozone layer and the climate, in accordance with the Montreal Protocol’s provisions of greening the cooling sector, the ministry, in collaboration with UNDP had developed a national cooling plan, which defined the pathway for reducing indirect and direct emissions of green house gases through enforcement of the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) policy for cooling equipment and the phase down of high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants and foam blowing agents. The national cooling plan will soon be launched as we prepare to incorporate it into our Nationally Determined Contributions. 

“Furthermore, we have trained over 90 trainers in the formal refrigeration and air conditioning training centres as well as technicians on best practices to reduce energy consumption of serviced equipment, leading to eventual energy use reduction in the cooling sector.

“As we celebrate this year’s World Ozone Day, the ministry will intensify its awareness creation activities on the importance of ozone layer protection, including collaboration with relevant stakeholders, as well as training and effective monitoring of technicians in the affected sectors on ozone–friendly technologies,” it added.

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