Zim implements stage two of Montreal Protocol on ozone depleting substances
Ivan Zhakata-Herald Correspondent
ZIMBABWE is implementing stage two on controlling and monitoring trade in ozone depleting substances and hydro-fluorocarbons under the Montreal Protocol.
The second stage of hydrochlorofluorocarbon phase out management plan (HPMP) seeks to phase out the use of hydro-fluorocarbans in line with the provisions of the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer and its Kigali Amendment. The Montreal Protocol on substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is the landmark multilateral environmental agreement that regulates the production and consumption of nearly 100 man-made chemicals referred to as ozone depleting substances that were stripping the Earth of its ozone protecting layer until major international action worked well to stop the emission and production of these chemicals, largely used in refrigeration and as the propellant for spray cans.
In a speech read on his behalf at a workshop for customs officers on controlling and monitoring trade under the Montreal Protocol, Secretary for Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Ambassador Raphael Faranisi said the country was also implementing the first stage of the Kigali protocol to further phase down hydrofluorocarbons in line with the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
“Zimbabwe, like many other developing countries does not produce these substances,” he said. “We, therefore, rely entirely on imports to meet our domestic needs largely in the refrigeration and air conditioning sector. “If adequate control measures are not instituted at ports of entry, Zimbabwe risks being a dumping ground for obsolete substances and technology. As customs officers, you, therefore, play a crucial role to prevent illegal imports of these substances into the country.”
Ambassador Faranisi said customs officers were the country’s first line of defence as illegal substance trade was now of major concern to the international community.
He said if it was not effectively controlled, there will be continued use of the substances, nullifying the tremendous achievements already made to heal the ozone layer and combat climate change.
“Controlling illegal trade in ozone depleting substances and hydro-fluorocarbons requires a lot of investment in human capital development, availability of advanced equipment and effective legal instruments,” Ambassador Faranisi said.
“This training workshop will, therefore, equip you with the necessary knowledge to enable you to curb illegal trade in these chemicals. Illegal traders are dynamic in their operations and will try by all means to be ahead of enforcement officers.
“A lot of intelligence is, therefore, required to outwit these illegal traders. To ensure that the Montreal Protocol’s ozone depleting substances phase out and hydro-fluorocarbons phase down targets are met, the Government of Zimbabwe established an import and export licensing system to control and monitor the quantities of these substances entering or leaving our borders.”
Ambassador Faranisi said the regulations required all importers and exporters of controlled substances to apply for permits from the Ministry prior to shipment of the goods.
The regulations were recently revised to incorporate recent developments under the Montreal Protocol and include new harmonised system codes.
“My Ministry, with the support of customs officers at all ports of entry, has been implementing an import and export licensing system for ozone depleting substances and their dependent equipment since January 2005,” he said.
“This is provided for under Article 4B of the Montreal Protocol to curb illegal imports of controlled and prohibited substances. Refrigerant identifiers and cameras were distributed to all the major ports of entry for use by customs officers in detecting mislabelled cylinders of refrigerants.
“A number of concealed, mislabelled or falsely declared consignments have been seized at some stations and ports of entry.”