Nigeria has achieved 100 per cent success in the depletion of ozone substances by phasing out over 4,000 tonnes of substances, an Ozone Officer in the Ministry of Environment has said.
Mr Abdul-Kazeem Bayero, the Director of Pollution and Environmental Health in the Ministry, disclosed this in Abuja recently.
The director listed some of the substances phased out to include Chloro fluro carbons and methyl bromide.
He said the substances could be used as refrigerants, fire protector, fumigants and cleaning agents.
Bayero, who is a former National Ozone Officer for Nigeria, said that the substances phased out were contained in the Montreal Protocol of 1987.
He said the phasing out of the substances had assisted in mitigating the effects of climate change.
The Montreal protocol, signed by Nigeria in 1988, was a detailed multilateral agreement signed by many countries of the World for the protection of the ozone layer.
According to him, ozone depleting substances are used in various industrial applications for the manufacturing of foams.
“Global environmental problems are governed by global multilateral agreements and ozone layer depletion is one of them.
“We have been involved in some activities in compliance with the provisions of the Montreal Agreement.
“The major aspect of the agreement is phase out schedules. For developing countries, there are phase out schedules to stop the use of those ozone depleting substances.
“Developed countries are mainly in production of the substances while in Africa, we import and use the chemicals.
“For developing countries like Nigeria, we have achieved the Montreal Protocol of 100 per cent phase out target for the chlorofluorocarbons and helons and we have stopped the importation since 2010,” Bayero said.
He explained that the ministry was also involved in awareness creation for refrigerator technicians, who were directly in contact with the gases.
The director said the ministry with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) had also taken its sensitisation programme to secondary schools in order to catch them young.
“Depletion of the ozone layer may contribute to climate change but other factors also cause climate change.
“These depleting substances have very high global warming potential and they are very potent.
“The Montreal protocol has contributed significantly to mitigating effects of climate change because some of the substances are green house gases.
“Inhaling the gases or direct contact with it do not have any health implication but it depletes the ozone layer and causes the dangerous Ultra-Violent B (UV-B) rays of the sun to cause damages on earth.
“The UV rays of the sun could cause skin cancer, eye cataract, depletes biodiversity in the aquatic environment, causes stunted growth in plants,” Bayero said.
The National Ozone Officer in the ministry, Mr Idris Abdul, said that the country had built an ozone village in Ogun to ensure improved technology and as training centre on issues relating to the protection of the ozone layer.
According to him, there is a pilot hydrocarbon refrigerant production plant in the village that has been completed.
He said the purpose for which the plant was established was to produce hydrocarbon refrigerants, which are not ozone depleting.
“Nigeria has abundance of petroleum resources and hydrocarbon refrigerant is made from Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG).”
Abdul said other depleting substances to be completely phased out by 2030, according to the protocol, was hydrochloro fluoro carbons (HCFCs).
He reaffirmed the ministry’s effort to maintain and ensure the nation’s compliance to global standards on issues of ozone layer preservation.
Mr Olayinka Ibitoye, the president of the National Air Conditioners and Refrigeration Practitioners (NACRP), commended the ministry as well as UNEP for their efforts toward sensitising members of the association.
Ibitoye said the ministry had also provided members of the association with the equipment to work for an ozone-friendly environment.
“We are aware of some of these substances and we now know how to contain them in order not to expose them to the environment in the cause of our work,” Ibitoye said.
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