Alarm bell over ozone layer damage

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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Author / Source: ANISUR RAHMAN KHAN
Expressing serious concern over the way the earth’s ozone layer has been
affected, a senior government official said it would take at least
another century to repair the damage caused to it by industrial nations.
“Global
warming is reduced drastically by restricting the burning of fossil
fuels and use of hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), methyl bromide,
industrial solvents and halon gases.

Then the ozone layer, shielding us from the harmful effects of the
ultraviolet rays of the sun, would increase,” Md Shajahan, additional
director general of the department of environment (DoE), told The
Independent yesterday.
The effects of the harmful gases that affect
the ozone layer are still in the atmosphere and will linger for at least
the next 100 years, he added.
A section of unscrupulous traders is
still importing harmful gases, which are a serious threat to the ozone
layer, and are also responsible for increasing global warming.
“At
least 98 per cent of the ozone-depleting substances, which are
responsible for damaging the ozone layer, have been stopped after the
Montreal Protocol was signed in 1990. The ozone layer will return to the
1980 level in 2150,” Shajahan said.
Considering HCFC as a high
global warming potential (GWP) gas, the Montreal Protocol, in its 20th
party meeting, decided to phase out the gas from 2013, he added.
“The
government has taken an initiative to control HCFC gas, which is used
for air coolers and air conditioners, as a refrigerant, and for the
production of thermal foam, at a cost of USD 1.10 million. It was
launched in December last year. According to the Protocol decision, the
use of HCFC gas will be reduced 10 per cent by 2015, 35 per cent by
2020, 67.5 per cent by 2025 and 100 per cent by 2030,” the DoE ADG said.
A
total of 946.8 tonnes of CFC gas was imported in 1999, he said, adding
that the use of CFC gas was brought down to zero level in 2010, except
in the pharmaceutical industries.
Around 170 tonnes of HCFC gas was
used in 2012 in the foam sector, and the government has installed
environment-friendly ‘cyclopenate’ machinery to phase out the use of
HCFC in the foam sector.
The government formed a National Technical
Committee on Ozone-Depleting Substances in 1995 to implement the
decision of the Montreal Protocol.
The Ozone Cell, formed in 1996 and
headed by the director general of the DoE, is engaged in implementing
the Montreal Protocol at the field level, Shajahan said.
At least 11 projects have been adopted to monitor and control the use of harmful gases.
These
projects include updating and reporting on the countrywide survey on
import and use of ozone-depleting substances, conversion to CFC-free
technology for the production of aerosols under a public-private
partnership, and implementation of a transition strategy and a
conversion project in producing metered dose inhalers (MDIs).
The
government will observe International Ozone Day on September 16, with
the theme ‘Ozone Layer Protection: The Mission Goes On’. The DoE
yesterday held a discussion at Ban Bhaban to mark Ozone Day.
Environment
and forests minister Anwar Hossain Manju, state minister for
environment and forests Abdullah Al Islam Jacob, environment and forests
secretary Nojibur Rahman and the DoE’s director general Roisul Alam
Mondal took part at the discussion.
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