The Federal Government has expressed commitment to intensify efforts in creating massive awareness on importance of ozone layer protection through effective collaboration with relevant stakeholders in the country.
Chief Sharon Ikeazor, Minister of State for Environment, disclosed this as the ministry commemorates 2021 International Day for Preservation of Ozone Layer, tagged: “Montreal Protocol, Keeping us, Our Food and Vaccines Cool”.
Ikeazor said that Sept. 16 was designated by the UN General Assembly as the International Day for Preservation of the Ozone Layer.
She said that it was an annual event that commemorates the date of the signing of the Montreal Protocol (MP) on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in 1987.
“As we join the rest of the world to commemorate this year‘s ‘World Ozone Day’, we must remind ourselves of our commitment to improve our environment and make it more friendly for habitation.
“As we celebrate this year’s Ozone Layer, the ministry will intensify its awareness creation activities on the importance of ozone layer protection with relevant stakeholders.
“The ministry is also committed to training and effectively monitoring the technicians in the affected sectors on Ozone friendly technology,” she said.
Ikeazor said for the past three decades, the Montreal Protocol, one of the most successful global environmental agreements, has provided a platform for more than 198 countries to work together on phasing out Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS).
She said that the platform was to protect the Ozone Layer from incalculable destruction worsened by ‘exploitative’ activities of man.
According to her, the theme for this year’s Ozone Layer highlights the broader impact of the Montreal Protocol, which has been helping to reduce the impact of climate change.
“The reduction which is through its Kigali Amendment on the phase down of Hydrofluorocarbons, the potent Green House Gases (GHGs) used as refrigerants.
“While many ozone-depleting substances are also GHGs that warm the climate, the Montreal Protocol has already slowed climate change by phasing out these GHGs.
“Also, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol is set to deliver even stronger climate benefits.
“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,” she said.
Ikeazor said the ministry was collaborating with UN Development Programme, UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), World Bank, UN Environmental Programme, among others, as the implementing agencies to effectively protect the environment.
She said that the agencies had been implementing the Montreal Protocol’s Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) phase out programme in the country.
“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 4,000 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 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 Cooling Sector.
“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.
“In our efforts to further protecting the Ozone Layer and the climate, in accordance with the Montreal Protocol’s provisions of greening the cooling sector, we are collaborating with UNDP.
“We have also developed a National Cooling Plan, which defines the pathway for reducing indirect and direct emissions of greenhouse gases.
“This is through enforcement of the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) policy for cooling equipment, 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, (NDCs),” she said.
Ikeazor noted that the ministry had trained over 90 trainers in the formal refrigeration and air conditioning training centres.
She added that the ministry had as well trained technicians on best practices to reduce energy consumption of service equipment leading to eventual energy use reduction in the cooling sector.
By Vivian Emoni