To protect the ozone layer, curb greenhouse emission and manage climate change, the Federal Government has notified importers of Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) of a looming ban of the harmful refrigerant chemical.
At a stakeholders’ sensitisation meeting organised by the Ministry of Environment in conjunction with the National Agency for Food and Drug Control & Administration (NAFDAC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at its Zonal Office in Lagos last week, Engr. Idris Abdullahi, the National Ozone Officer at the Ministry said that Government is in the process of phasing out Ozone Depleting Substances.
Speaking with TNMN exclusively, Engr. Idris Abdullahi, said the meeting with importers of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) is to urge them to embrace the use of natural refrigerants as substitutes to ODS.
He said natural refrigerants such as Co2 , Hydrocarbon (HC) and Ammonia are environmentally friendly, adding that critical partners are prepared to assist with funding and training geared towards procuring and utilising them.
TNMN reports that the funding being championed by the Montreal Protocol, of which Nigeria is a signatory, targets ridding the world of the chemicals with high global warming potentials before 2040 .
“Nigeria as a party to the Montreal Protocol has an obligation to carry out binding obligations. The Montreal protocol through its funding mechanism would provide both technical and financial support to the developing countries to meet their obligations. The technical and financial assistance would not come directly to Nigeria . The Montreal Protocol provides funding for our activities through the United Nations Development Programme.
‘’Some are Inflammable, some have high pressure and toxicity concerns. We are going to join in training our major stakeholders on how to use the substances . It is a long term training which will commence next year. We train and collaborate with relative certification authorities to ensure trained technicians are allowed to use natural refrigerants’’.
Contributing to the discourse, the National President Modern Cooling Equipment Marketers Association of Nigeria, Joe Ifeanyi Egbo who applauded the initiative said; ‘’For us to be alive and survive, we need to take care of the climate. Without managing the climatic challenges, we may go into extinction. We are already strategizing on how to have more sensitization for ODS importers as soon as possible’’.
Another stakeholder, Engr. Segun Shomala, said the ban of ODS is a noble course but the challenge would be a consequent downward spiral of business.
‘’It is 50,000 metric tons that can be imported, we have big players that did up to 100,000 metric tons before . That means they would share the 50,000 metric tons among themselves and the smaller importers would not get anything. I think that is the only challenge but if there is collaboration, it will work ‘’.
Present at the event were Musa Shehu Usman, Assistant Director of National Environmental Standards & Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) , Dr. Leonard Omokpariola, Director, Chemical Evaluation and Research of NAFDAC alongside ODS importers.
ODS though currently used as refrigerants in the cooling sector and as a blowing agent in the foam sector, deplete the ozone layer.