A five days Workshop for Enabling Activities for down Hydrochloro-Fluoro-Carbons (HFCs) Phase Down and training of National Ozone Officers from Western, Eastern, Northern and Southern regions of the Africa Anglophone Network has opened in Accra-Ghana.
The five day training workshop which is been hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is to build parties capacities, strengthening institutions and developing national strategies to ensure they tackle HFCs quickly and decisively after the Kigali Amendment, a landmark international agreement to phase down the production and use of HFCs, entered into force on 1st January 2019.
Partner countries in October 2016, at its 28th meeting held in Kigali, Rwanda, Parties adopted an amendment to phase down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol (MP).
According to the organizers, the training workshop which is in two folds would also enhance national ozone officers and their legal counterparts the needed capacity to carry out their obligations in the implementation of the Montreal Protocol and its various amendments.
The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was adopted in response to the threat to human health and the environment posed by CFCs and other ozone–depleting substances (ODS), as well as HFC, which were known to be potent greenhouse gases and were found mainly in air-conditioning and refrigeration.
The workshop is also geared towards enabling activities for HFC phase-down in countries as well as paving the way for information sharing.
Addressing participants at the opening ceremony at the Accra City Hotel, the Acting Executive Director of EPA, Mr. John Pwamang disclosed that the adoption of the MP on Ozone Depletion some 32 years ago by countries has resulted in the elimination of over 98 percent of ozone-depleting substances, with the possibility of repairing the layer by the middle of the century.
According to the Acting Executive Director of EPA, the achievement has also been the result of countries’ shared commitments and cooperation, coupled with the daily choices of individuals around the world.
”Some may wonder why this matters. To this, you can respond that thanks to the success of the Montreal Protocol, millions of cases of skin cancer have been avoided, and so have tens of millions of cases of eye cataracts.
It has also had huge positive impacts on agriculture, preventing significant loss of food crops and food security challenges.
“Likewise, the Protocol has also encouraged significant industrial innovation resulting in more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly refrigeration systems.” ” he explained.
Mr Pwamang said Ghana became the 79th country in the world to ratify the Kigali Amendment in August, 2019, which sets the tone for the country to implement the Amendments by gradually facing out the HFCs.
He announced that the Kigali Amendment had received wide support from the private sector, which had been impressive as businesses were increasingly introducing alternatives to HFCs in developed and developing countries’ market alike.
The Acting Executive Director of EPA maintained that the new technologies promise triple win: no harm to the ozone layer; being climate-friendly; and increasing energy efficiency.
“By reducing or phasing down the use of HFCs in refrigerators, air conditioners, and related facilities by 80 percent over the next 30 years, together, we would avoid 0.4 oC of global warming by the end of the century, while continuing to protect the ozone layer,” he added.
Mr Pwamang hinted that the National Ozone Unit (NOU) under the implementation of the Hydrochloflurocarbon Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP), had started the training of technicians from well-established air-conditioning installation workshops in the conversion of existing R22 based Air conditioning units to run on Hydrocarbon R290.
On his part, the Head, Energy Resource Climate Change & Ozon Department, EPA, Mr. Emmanuel Osae-Quansah, in an interview with the media on the sidelines of the week long training said the workshop was in response to the ratification and the implementation of the Kigali Amendment that sought to phase down 19 identified Hydrochloflurocarbon refrigerants found in refrigerators, air-conditioning, cold storage systems and in the mortuaries.
Mr. Osae-Quansah stated that about 81 out of the 196 member countries worldwide have ratified the Montreal Protocol and its four Amendments relating to ODS, with the rest in the process of ratifying the Kigali Amendment on HFCs agreed on in 2016.
Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
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