Lead 04-08_optSidra Cheema

THE PROTECTION of Ozone layer has received a wider significance especially after the threats to the very survival of the planet earth are constantly on the rise across the world. Greenhouses gases emission has emerged as the potential reason behind the rising danger. Environmentalists, climatologists, earth scientists and meteorologists have strongly stressed the need for eliminating the hydrochlorofluorocarbons, or HCFCs, a greenhouse gas that are damaging the ozone, and this can done only if industrialist and manufacturers of refrigerators and air conditioners play their active part to phase out the use of HCFC in their compressors.

“HCFCs are a potent greenhouse gases, contributing to the warming of the earth as carbon dioxide does. But the effect of many kinds of HCFCs on global warming is much more pronounced than an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide,” said Muhammad Ashraf, National Project Director of the Ozone Cell and Joint Secretary (International Cooperation), Ministry of Climate Change, while addressing a workshop on Policies to Facilitate Hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) Phase-out for Policymakers recently organized by Ministry of Climate Change with the collaboration of United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

He urged the industrialists to join the governments efforts and play their active part in phasing out the environmentally harmful hydrochlorofluorocarbons in order to protect this planet.

He mentioned that HFCs are a better alternatives to HCFCs in both refrigeration and air conditioning applications and; hence, the phase out of HCFCs will not only have a positive impact on ozone layer recovery but also on climate change mitigation.

The ozone layer is a thin and fragile shield that envelops the earth and acts like an umbrella that protects us from the suns harmful ultraviolet-B radiation (UV-B). It is made up of ozone (O3) molecules and located in the upper atmosphere, 10 to 50 kilometers above the earths surface.

Ashraf informed the participants about the workshop that industry plays a vital role in meeting the 2015 target of 97.5 percent reduction in HCFC consumption. however, the phase-out of HCFCs in this sector will have a huge positive impact to the protection of the ozone layer and reduction of greenhouse gases emissions.

In his remarks on the occasion, Gul Najam Jamy, Assistant Country Director Environment and Climate Change Unit, UNDP in Pakistan, said that the Hydrochlorofluorocarbons Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) of Pakistan has been under implementation for the last two years and the second stage covering the Refrigeration and Air-conditioning (RAC) sector will be developed.

South Asia Coordinator, United Natons Environment Programmes OzonAction network, Atul Bagai, said that besides urging industrialists to play their role, phase-out of HCFC will demand concrete measures to protect the ozone layer.

He suggested that all HCFC stakeholders must be aware of the phase-out schedule and available alternatives, equipment owners must begin to assess the potential impact of the HCFC phase-out when considering new equipment and retrofits of the existing equipment, owners of HCFC equipment or potential buyers of new refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) equipment must be knowledgeable of HCFC issues.

Attul Bagai from UNEP said that Pakistan wills probably the first or second country who will achieve its 2015 targets. All of us think its a regional achievements, Pakistan is a role model for all countries.

The EPA is taking a big step to try and phase out the use of a major class of greenhouse gases, proposing a rule allowing alternatives to replace certain hydro fluorocarbons, or HFCs, in home refrigerators and other appliances. The rule has been a long time coming, as hundreds of millions of refrigerators in other parts of the world already use much more benign coolants.

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