Philippines joins global celebration of Ozone Day
As part of the global celebration of International Ozone Day on September 16, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Analiza Rebuelta-Teh will lead the ceremonial hand over of information kits on ozone protection to the selected high schools in Metro Manila at the DENR grounds in Quezon City.
With this year’s theme, Ozone Layer Protection: The Mission Goes On, the celebration seeks to galvanize all stakeholders to increase their efforts to address the challenges in phasing out ozone depleting substances.
“Strengthening the participation of the youth in protecting the ozone layer can be achieved by providing them readily available information. This continued partnership with the schools will help us develop not just green consumers but ecological citizens fighting their right to a healthy environment,” Teh said.
The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone layer is an environmental agreement among 196 countries which committed to reduce and eventually eliminate their production and consumptions of ODS (ozone depleting substances) such as chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC).
Teh said that HCFCs have always been considered as an interim solution to Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) Phase-out, because of their lower Ozone Depleting Potential (ODP) which is between 5-10% when compared to CFCs. Both are used as cooling agent for refrigerators and air-conditioners, as blowing agent for foam, and as solvent. Both groups of chemicals are greenhouse gases which contribute to the climate change. HCFC is also used as fire extinguishing agent.
“Unfortunately, HCFC’s Global Warming Potential (GWP) is high (600-2,200 CO2-equivalent). That is why global efforts are being undertaken to phase it out,” she added.
Last August 6-8, the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Philippine Ozone Desk (POD) has conducted sectoral consultations on the HCFC phaseout program. The project is a joint activity of the EMB-POD, the Government of Japan and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO.)
This, Teh explained, is in preparation for the targeted 10% reduction in the importation of HCFC by January 1, 2015.
The Philippines already froze the level of importation of HCFCs since January 1, 2013.
“With the cooperation of everyone, we can ensure a smooth transition towards acceptable alternatives for HCFCs,” Teh said.
The Montreal Protocol is considered as the most successful international agreement to date because it is the only one that is ratified by all 196 countries of the world. The Protocol has been responsible for the 100-percent phase out of CFC production and consumption in the world. The Philippines signed the Protocol on Sept. 14, 1988 and ratified it on March 21, 1991.###