Government is working with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority to combat illegal trade of contaminated and banned refrigerants to decrease the depletion of the ozone layer, a Cabinet minister has said. Addressing journalists yesterday, the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Saviour Kasukuwere said illegal trade of chemicals that lead to the depletion of the ozone layer was a major concern.
“My ministry is working closely with custom officials from ZIMRA to combat illegal trade of the substances into the country. We have managed to phase out the use of methyl bromide in non-quarantine and pre-shipment applications in agriculture from a baseline of 557 ozone layer depletion potential.
The country has already phased out halons and carbon tetrachloride in fire fighting equipment and industrial cleaning operations respectively and we are conducting training workshops with technical colleges for service technicians and at the same time equipping the colleges for proper training of student technicians,” he said.
The ozone layer is a level in the earth’s atmosphere which absorbs harmful radiation also known as ultraviolet light from the sun. Less protection from the light will over time lead to higher skin cancers,cataract rates and crop damage.
He said customs officers at all ports of entry have been equipped with skills and tools to identify these items and called on importers to get approval before bringing suspicious refrigerants into the country.