JUST IN: Zimbabwe commemorates ozone preservation day

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Nesia Mhaka

Herald correspondent

Zimbabwe last week joined the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, which is dedicated to reminding people across the world on the need to protect the ozone layer.

On the day, the world also commemorated the signing of the Montreal Protocol on September 16, 1987 by a number of countries that were apprehensive about the depletion of the ozone layer.

This year’s theme was “Ozone for life: 35 years of ozone layer protection”

In a statement to mark the day, Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said Government was now at the final stage in the ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on the substances that deplete the Ozone Layer, which entered into force on January 1 last year.

The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol is an international agreement, which was set to gradually reduce the consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons.

“My ministry is making all the necessary measures to comply with its provisions even before we have ratified the amendment, said Minister Ndlovu. So far, 102 parties to the Montreal Protocol have ratified the Kigali Amendment.

“As for the Government of Zimbabwe, the ratification process is at the final stages and it is my hope that Parliament will approve the ratification and we will deposit the instrument of ratification with the United Nations before the end of this year.

Minister Ndlovu said his ministry had already embarked on the enabling activities for the Hydro-Fluorocarbons phase down in the refrigeration and air conditioning sector.

“About twenty training workshops on safe use of hydrocarbon refrigerants have been conducted across the country and more than five hundred refrigeration and air conditioning technicians have so far been trained,” he said.

“This has enabled our refrigeration and air conditioning technicians to be equipped with skills to work safely with ozone and climate friendly hydrocarbon refrigerants, which are flammable if safety measures are not followed.”

Minister Ndlovu said according to the concerted international efforts, the ozone layer was expected to recover by the middle of this century and Zimbabwe has so far phased out 450 tonnes of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

“These reductions at national level have contributed to the global efforts to preserve the ozone layer and the global climate system,” he said.

The World Ozone Day provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made towards the protection of the ozone layer and it serves as a reminder to decision-makers and the general public, of the need to protect this valuable shield that safeguards the earth and in the long-run, our lives.