Namibia celebrates preservation of ozone layer day

Namibia on Monday joined the rest of the world to celebrate the 32nd anniversary of the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.

Namibia became signatory to the Montreal Protocol in 1993, which sought to control and phase out ozone-depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, methyl bromide and hydrochlorofluorocarbons.

Speaking at the commemoration event under the theme '32 years and Healing' here, Deputy Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, Lucia Iipumbu said since joining the Protocol Namibia has established a national ozone unit within the directorate of industrial development in the ministry to oversee the implementation of Namibia's obligation to the Montreal Protocol.

She said Namibia was also the first country in Africa to have totally phase out CFCs, halons and methyl bromide in 2008, adding that the ministry has embarked on a journey to phase out hydrochlorofluorocarbon gases.

Hydrochlorofluorocarbon, mainly used in refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.

Namibia has already stopped the importation of products designed to use hydrochlorofluorocarbons and is nearing its phase out scheduled, she said.

Iipumbu further noted that to give perspective to the magnitude of the development aimed at ensuring that the country meet the Protocols obligations, the ministry has trained Customs Officers on how to identify and control import of ozone depleting substances.

She added that, importers of gas have to apply for an import permit from the ministry through the national ozone unit.

The industry is encouraged to shift to an environmentally friendly alternative technology which uses hydrocarbon gases, noting that although this gas is safe to the environment, it is known to be flammable when not handled properly, she noted.

Iipumbu said hydrocarbon equipment are becoming common in the market therefore the ministry conducts training of technicians on the safe handling of hydrocarbon-containing equipment.

She concluded that, as Namibia celebrates 32 years of the Montreal Protocol, highlighting the Protocol's success in healing the ozone layer, continuous effort needs to be maintained to ensure its healing.

This year's theme should therefore, re-enforce our commitment and collaboration with one another to ensure that the Montreal Protocol objectives are achieved in an integrated holistic manner

At the event, 13 Customs and Excise officials where honoured with certificates in recognition of their dedication to combat the illegal trade in ozone depleting substances.

Source: Namibia Press Agency