How UNDP is promoting climate friendly and energy efficient technology in industry to save the ozone layer


Remember mosquito repellent advertisements in the late nineties that boasted having no chemical in it which depletes the ozone layer in our atmosphere.

Fast forward to now and you have inhalers, air conditioners, refrigerators all boasting to have no chemicals that are a threat to the ozone-layer.

But have you ever wondered why it is important to protect the ozone layer?  Depletion of the ozone layer would allow increased ultraviolet radiation to reach the earth, resulting in global warming, higher incidence of skin cancers and eye cataracts, more-compromised immune systems, and negative effects on environment and society.

That’s why it’s urgent to save the ozone layer to protect the planet. A global treaty was signed in 1987, called Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion.

After the ratification of the Montreal Protocol in 1990, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which is an implementing agency of the multilateral fund for the protocol’s implementation, started to make headway to that end in Bangladesh.

In line with the protocol, UNDP had been working with the government and private sectors under the Public Private Partnership(PPP) model since the 1990s.

An early milestone would be the 1996 formation of the National Ozone Unit under the Department of Environment, which was formed with the protocol’s financial support through UNDP Bangladesh.

By 2002, Bangladesh had reached implementation level by phasing out ODS from the aerosol sector. The phase-out was implemented through a PPP with one of the market leaders, ACI Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

In another eight years, most severely damaging ODSs, viz, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), carbon tetra chloride (CTC) and Halons were eliminated from pharmaceuticals, refrigeration and air-conditioning industries.

All of these chemicals have a high global warming potential and contribute substantially in global warming.

By 2012, the harmful chemicals were phased out from metered-dose inhalers through a PPP with Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Square Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and ACME Laboratories.

In 2011, UNDP as a lead implementing agency prepared HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (Stage-I) include one foam conversion project for Walton Hi-tech Industries Ltd.

The air-conditioners and refrigerator company shifted to using Cyclopentane as its propellant which has zero effect on the ozone layer and has very low global warming potential. The propellant is also energy efficient, saving on the carbon footprint in the long run.

The project was completed in 2014 and phased-out annually 183.7 Metric-tonnes of HCFC-141b from the manufacturing of refrigerator insulation foam as a blowing agent.

All of these projects developed and transferred improved and climate friendly technologies and changes of the production processes in these plants from best practices of such companies in more developed countries.

After that UNDP prepared HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (Stage-II) in 2018 where five air-condition manufacturing companies were taken for conversion of HCFC-22 to HC-290.

HC-290 is zero ODS, low GWP and also energy efficient. Proposed project grant is around US$6 million, and it will be implemented under Private Public Partnership modality.

The project will result in sustainable reduction of 24.52 ODP tones of HCFC consumption and net direct CO­2 equivalent emission reductions of about 879,806 tons annually from 2025.

Apart from above mentioned investment activities, UN Environment as co-operating agency is also implementing non-investment activities, such as capacity building of refrigeration technicians, enforcement for preventing illegal trade of ODS, awareness raising, etc.

PM-envPrime Minister Sheikh Hasina accepting a certificate of appreciation for Bangladesh's success in reducing use of ODS. Photo: BSS

The successes of Bangladesh did not go unnoticed and UNEP awarded a “Certificate of Appreciation” to the country for achieving all reduction targets set out in the protocol in the 29th Meeting of the Parties to the MP held in November 2017 in Montreal.

However, there are many challenges remaining and UNDP hopes that continuing efforts to protect the ozone layer will move forward in the same spirit of dedication, cooperation and innovation that characterized the initial efforts, and that the Protocol will go on to achieve its goal of protecting the ozone layer for present and future generation.

UNDP has been supporting Bangladesh to Phase-out ODS under Montreal Protocol since 1993 and implemented so far, a series of 14 Projects. As part of the HCFC Phase-out Management, UNDP is supporting the Government to promote technologies that have low greenhouse gas potential and are energy efficient.

This initiative is also supporting private sector to lower their production cost, increasing worker’s productivity and occupational safety, reducing longer term burden on a nation’s health budget, and playing a crucial role in mitigating climate change.

UNDP is also supporting Bangladesh to ratify the Kigali Amendment- a legally binding climate agreement to phase down the manufacture and use of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by roughly 80-85% till 2045.

This phase down is expected to arrest the global average temperature rise up to 0.5o C by 2100 that will be useful for achieving the target set in Paris Climate Agreement.

This ratification will help the country to promote energy efficiency (30 – 40% beyond current level in RAC sector), more climate-friendly cooling system, enhance access to global climate funds and create opportunity to jump-start the transition to lowest global warming potential cooling technology for Bangladesh.

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