Originally published in the BSS.
The government has taken HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (Stage-II) aiming to phase out the ozone depleting substances (ODSs) and help protect the planet’s ozone layer that safeguards the lives on the earth from harmful cosmic radiation.
“The Department of Environment (DoE) has already prepared the HCFC Phase-out Management Plan 2018 (Stage-II) with support from UNDP Bangladesh,” DoE Additional Director General Quazi Sarwar Imtiaz Hashmi told BSS.
Noting that the plan was placed before the 81st meeting of the Executive Committee of Montreal Protocol Multilateral Fund held in Montreal, Canada, from 18 to 22 June 2018 and the meeting approved it.
“As the committee of Montreal Protocol Multilateral Fund approved the plan, the DoE will now initiate conversion programmes to phase out ODSs,” Hashmi said.
In 1990, Bangladesh accessed the Montreal Protocol adopted in 1987, which was later ratified by all 197 countries of the world. As a signatory, Bangladesh is committed to phase out hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and other ozone depleting substances.
Ozone is a gas that is naturally present in the atmosphere of the earth, which restricts the harmful ultraviolet rays coming from sun and thus safeguards the living organisms. Any rise in the amount of UV-B reaching the earth’s surface has potential harmful effects on human health, animals, plants, microorganisms, materials and air quality.
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), halons, methyl bromide, carbon tetrachloride (CTC), HCFC, hydro bromofluorocarbons (HBFCs) are ozone depleting substances.
Dr SK Purkayastha, a senior office of DoE’s Ozone Cell, said the CFC is one of the most common ozone depleting substances, which was used in refrigeration, air conditioning appliances, foam production, cleaning solvents, process agents and propellant etc. But, he said, the use of CFC was totally phased out in Bangladesh in 2012.
According to the DoE officials, Bangladesh has successfully phased out major ODSs like CFCs, CTC, halons and methyl bromide from the commercial sector use in 2010.
The CFCs was also phased out in manufacturing of metred dose inhalers and HCFC-141b in manufacturing refrigerator foam as foam blowing agent in 2012 under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model with financial support from the Montreal Protocol Multilateral Fund through UNDP.
For successful implementation of the HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (Stage-I) in line with Montreal Protocol, Bangladesh was highly appreciated by international community. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recognised Bangladesh for its achievement in phasing out major ODSs from the country on the eve of 25 years of signing of the Montreal Protocol.
The 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. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received the certificate of appreciation in November 2017 in Montreal.
Despite the successes, the HCFCs and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), another ODS, are still being used in Bangladesh.
Dr Purkayastha said the HCFCs are still being used here in air cooling applications and that is why a US$ 6 million project has been taken to stop the use of HCFC by 2023. R-290 (propane gas), a substance which is zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and low global warning potential (GWP), will be used as an alternative to the HCFCs, he said.
The DoE official said the authorities concerned will be able to stop production of HCFC-based ACs by 2023, but they will require few more years for phasing out HCFCs completely.
Besides, he said, the HFCs are now being used in refrigerators, air conditioners of cars and inhalers, so the department with support from UNDP has already taken another project involving US$ 3 million aiming to stop HFCs use in this regard.
“The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2019,” Purkayastha added.