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Govt to intensify awareness on importance of ozone layer protection

The Minister of the Environment, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, on Friday, September 18, 2020 said the ministry would intensify its awareness on the importance of the protection of the ozone layer through the effective collaboration of relevant stakeholders.

Dr Mohammed Mahmoud Abubakar
Minister of Environment, Dr Mohammed Mahmoud Abubakar

Abubakar made this known at a ministerial briefing on the commemoration of 2020 International Day for Preservation of Ozone Layer with the theme, “Ozone for Life,’’ in Abuja.

He said that the ministry was also committed to the training and monitoring of technicians in the affected sectors on ozone-friendly technologies.

The Minister said the theme has two connotations that needed a healthy ozone layer to protect lives and the environment, as well as safeguarding future generations to come.

Abubakar said that the ministry, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, (UNDP), the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, (UNIDO), the World Bank and the UN Environment Programme, were the agencies implementing Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS).

“In line with the protocol’s ODS phase out schedule, we have assisted over 600 large, Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises in the foam, refrigeration and air conditioning, aerosols, fire protection and solvent sectors.

“The assistance is to convert to ozone-friendly substances and technologies.

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“This resulted in 100 per cent phase out of over 4,000 metric tonnes of ODS, with high ozone depletion potentials.

“About 26 institutions, (polytechnics and government technical colleges) were identified and equipped to serve as training centres on good refrigeration practices.

“We have also trained the trainers from the identified centres and developed training manuals on good refrigeration practices.

“These have led to the training of more than 10,000 refrigeration technicians in the refrigeration servicing sector.”

He said that the ODS phase out activities were achieved with support from the multilateral fund for the implementation of the Montreal protocol.

Abubakar noted that the ministry was implementing the protocol’s Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFCs) project.

He said that the project was targeted at phasing out HCFCs gases R-22 and 141b, mainly used in Nigeria as refrigerants and blowing agents in the refrigeration, air conditioning and foam sectors respectively.

The minister said that the ministry was committed in the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements that the country was a party to.

According to him, the upgrade of a system house at Vitapur Nigeria Ltd (a subsidiary of vitafoam Nig. Ltd), for the formulation of ozone friendly systems in the manufacture of rigid polyurethane foam was completed in 2019.

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“I am glad to inform Nigerians that I will be commissioning this particular project on Sept. 22.

“The plant which is one of the two such in Africa, the other being in South Africa, will supply ozone friendly substances to downstream end-users in the rigid polyurethane foam sector.

He said that the benefit of the project was to provide ozone friendly and low global warning potential blowing agent in the production of rigid foam.

The Minister said the ministry would be engaging in capacity building activities on maintenance and servicing of space cooling to avoid spread of COVID 19 while minimising impacts of energy efficiency and climate.

He said the ministry was currently preparing to commence the implementation of Stage 2 of the Hydrochlorofurocarbons Phase Management Plan (HPMP).

The Minister added that the government of Italy has offered support as a bilateral partner.

Abubakar said that the Stage 2 was built upon the achievement of the previous stage, aimed at achieving the complete phase out of HCFC-141b in foam related applications.

He explained that Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer was adopted in 1985 and entered into force in 1988.

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The Minister added that the binding instrument to ensure compliance with the provisions of the convention was also adopted on Sept. 16, 1987, which became the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer.

“Since then, Sept. 16 has been set aside to commemorate the international day for the preservation of the ozone layer by the global community, in line with the UN General Assembly Resolution,’’ he said.

The minister, however, appreciated the efforts of UNDP, UNIDO, World Bank, UN Environment, the government of Italy and other relevant agencies for their support and cooperation in the implementation of projects.

Earlier, Mr Jean Bakole, Country Representative and Regional Director of UNIDO, said that the office would continue to support the government in promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialisation development.

Bakole, who was represented by Mr Oluyomi Banjo, an environment expert in UNIDO, thanked the minister on the achievement of all the projects across the country.

By Vivian Emoni

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