Nigeria has initiated moves to protect the environment and restore ozone layer to pre-industrial age level, with the commencement of amendment on the national ozone layer protection regulations and demonstration project for disposal of unwanted Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) in the country.
The proposed changes in the National Environmental (Ozone Layer Protection) Regulations (S.I.32 of 2009) will be a mandatory requirements for consumption and disposal of ODS waste and pilot Ozone Depleting Substances Disposal project, as part of Nigeria’s obligation as a member of the Conference of Parties to the Montreal Protocol.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) a week ago in Lagos collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Environment and National Environmental Standards Regulation and Enforcement Agency (NESREA) to sensitise stakeholders on changes in the legislation at a daylong workshop.
The Ministry’s permanent secretary, Fatima Nana Mede, in a keynote address at the workshop, noted that amending the national ozone layer protection regulations would enable the country comply with the provisions of the Montreal Protocol.
“It also will enhance national capacity for ozone depleting substances prohibitions, import quota administration, compliance monitoring and ODS waste management,” she said.
She added that the pilot disposal project being implemented in Nigeria would establish a model, which will not only show the best way to manage the unwanted ODS banks in developing countries, but also show how ODS disposal can promote other environmental and climate change issues like energy efficiency, Carbon Market co-financing, among others.
Mede, who was represented by a deputy director, Mr. Theodore Nwaokwe, recalled that Nigeria signed the Vienna Convention on the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in 1998 and also has signed all the related amendments such as the Copenhagen, London, Montreal and Beijing amendments.
She said: “We must recall that the Federal Government has previously successfully implemented a number of projects funded by the Multilateral Fund (MLF). These projects include the ODS phase out programme involving the installation of Ozone friendly equipment or retrofitting old ODS-based equipment to Ozone friendly ones in the affected sectors.
“The sectors include refrigeration manufacturing and servicing, aerosol, foam, solvents, halons, Methyl bromide. It is also important to mention that in implementing MLF-funded projects, Nigeria has collaborated with international agencies and development partners namely UNDP, UNIDO, GTZ Proklima, and The World Bank.”
The government listed other issues relating to Ozone Depleting Substances that are not yet fully addressed at the global level and may pose challenges to the Montreal Protocol in the years ahead to include: compliance and data reporting, exemptions for critical uses, and sustaining the momentum of the total global phase-out needed to ensure protection of the ozone layer. Others are dealing with illegal trade and ensuring that ozone depleting substances for allowed uses are not diverted to illegal uses, monitoring the ozone layer to ensure that it is recovering as expected and effective management of ODS Banks.
While appreciating the concerns of the Secretariat of the Montreal Protocol about the deleterious effects of Ozone Depleting Substances, the government expressed commitment to addressing the issue of ozone layer depletion.
“We will continue to take proactive, appropriate and decisive actions to ensure compliance,” Mede added.
UNIDO Country Representative and Regional Director for ECOWAS, Dr. David Tommy, said: “It is mandatory for Nigeria to reflect in its laws, disposal of waste and it is important for the country to begin conforming to product stewardship where the extended producer responsibility initiative is effected and manufactures and distributors of ODS containing equipment have to initiate buy-back programmes to ensure that products are recycled and disposed satisfactorily.”
He disclosed that UNIDO is working with the country in the identification, aggregation and disposal of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), review and updating legislations on ODS and technological application of methyl formate as an alternative to Hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).