Gambia ratified Montreal Protocol to show commitment in phasing-out ODS

Monday, October 15, 2018

(Friday 12th October, 2018 Issue)

Director of Technical Services Network (DTSN) at National Environment Agency (NEA) has said in pursuance of safe and healthy environment, The Gambia positively responded and showed firm commitments to phase-out the consumption of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) by ratifying many international conventions and protocols including the Montreal Protocol.

Dr. Dawda Badgie said other Conventions and Protocols includes the Vienna Convention on the Protection of Ozone Layer in July in 1990, Montreal Protocols on substances that depletes the ozone layer in July 1990, London amendment to the Montreal protocol in March 1995, the Copenhagen, Montreal and the Beijing Amendments to the Montreal Protocol in June 2003.

Dr Badjie was speaking at a two-day training for customs and other law enforcement officers on the importance of controlling illegal trade in Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) and the ratification of the Kigali Amendment on HFCs at a hotel in Bijilo. The cross-learning dialogue was organized by the National Ozone Office of the National Environment Agency (NEA) in collaboration with the United Nations Ozone Action programme.

Dr. Badgie indicated that globally 197 countries have ratified the Montreal Protocol including The Gambia.

The Protocol, he said, sets out time schedule to freeze and reduce the production and consumption of ODS and requires all parties to ban export and import of controlled substances to and from parties and non-parties to the protocol. “Life on earth depends on the protection provided by the ozone layer in the stratosphere, which screen harmful ultra-violet solar radiation from the sun. In this process, the ozone layer is depleted as a result of the emission of certain human-made chemicals that react and destroy ozone molecules in the stratosphere,” Dr. Badgie said.

Removing the face-mask off the refrigerants, Dr. Badgie revealed that major ODS including Chloro Fluoro Carbons (CFCs) are used in refrigerators and air-conditioning while halons are used in fire extinguishers and fire suppressant installations and methyl bromide as ozone depleting pesticide.

According to him, over 300 refrigeration technicians were trained across the country in refrigeration techniques, handling, recovery and recycling, while over 200 Customs and other security officers were trained on monitoring and control of ODS imports and exports.

The participants were provided with skills that would enable them to implement export/licensing systems and to easily detect controlled substances getting into the country through entry points.

“According to the UNEP DTIE report of June 2011, over 20, 000 tonnes per year worth US$150-300 million illegal trade on Ozone Depleting Substances, equivalent to over 12% of global ODS is produced.”

Alhagie Sarr, NEA ODS program officer said his agency has been partnering with Customs and other law enforcement agencies in the protection and preservation of the ozone layer and in the fight to eradicate illegal trade in ozone depleting substances.

“Your role in this fight is fundamental for the fact that you control entry points including land borders, sea and air ports. Without your dedication in controlling illegal trade, our fight against ODS will be futile,” he said.

He said some refrigerants like R22 used mainly in domestic and mobile air conditioning systems, chillers, blast freezers in fish processing factories and cold room in hotels do not only deplete the ozone layer but also contributes to  the warming of the earth and climate change.

Mr. Sarr said The Gambia witnessed extreme damage to the coastline and the fact that it is one of the most vulnerable countries to sea level rise should serve as a wakeup call to fight for a better environment.

Author: Sheikh Alkinky Sanyang