Zim implementing MEPS for domestic refrigeration and air conditioning appliances

ZIMBABWE is working with key stakeholders to implement the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for domestic refrigeration and air  conditioning appliances, a Cabinet Minister has said.

Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said this in a statement ahead of the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer (World Ozone Day).

The United Nations General Assembly in 1994 designated 16 September of every year to commemorate the date in 1987 when nations signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

The Ozone layer is a fragile shield of gas, which protects the Earth from the harmful effects of the Ultraviolet rays of the sun, thus helping preserve life on the planet.

A number of commonly used chemicals have been found to be extremely damaging to the Ozone Layer, and these include fluorine, chlorine, bromine and iodine.

Man-made chemicals that have provided most of the chlorine and bromine for Ozone Depletion are methyl bromide, methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride and families of chemicals known as halons, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).

The phaseout of controlled uses of ozone depleting substances and the related reductions have not only helped protect the ozone layer for this and future generations, but have also contributed significantly to

global efforts to address climate change.

Furthermore, it has protected human health and ecosystems by limiting the harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching the Earth.

Ndlovu said his Ministry is working with the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) the Department of Energy as well as Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (RAC) Associations to implement the MEPS with the aim of

finding safe and environmentally friendly alternatives to

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and increasing the energy efficiency of cooling equipment.

He said the heating up of the planet due to global warming is increasing the need for air-conditioning in homes, supermarkets, schools and workplaces.

To sustain the growth in cooling demand, there is need to find both safe and environmentally friendly alternatives to HFCs and increasing the energy efficiency of cooling equipment, he explained.

“As the world replaces HFCs with ozone and climate friendly refrigerants such as hydrocarbons (HCs), we are setting ourselves on a course to tackle both ozone layer depletion and climate change, thereby improving

the quality of life on earth,” Ndlovu said.

Reducing HFCs use is expected to avoid up to 0.4°C of global temperature rise by the end of this century, while simultaneously continuing to protect the stratospheric ozone layer, he explained.

Ndlovu said the Ozone Day commemoration was being held as his Ministry is implementing the Second Stage Hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) Phase

out Management Plan (HPMP).

He said the Second Stage HPMP which is being implemented in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United

Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will enable the country to eliminate the use of HCFCs by the 1st of January 2030, and this will result in more climate benefits as these substances have high Global Warming Potentials.

“Tools and equipment for use by Refrigeration and Air conditioning practitioners have been procured and will be distributed to all major cities and towns,” he said.

“Tools have also been procured for use by customs officers to combat illegal trade in unwanted substances. I greatly appreciate the support my Ministry is receiving from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and the

Refrigeration industry in phasing out substances controlled under the Montreal Protocol.”

Ndlovu also said the 2022 Scientific Assessment Panel Report confirmed that Ozone layer recovery is on track, and Ozone levels are expected to return to 1980 levels by around 2066 over the Antarctic and by around

2046 over the Artic.

He said this was made possible through restricting the use of Ozone-depleting substances and allowing the Ozone layer to slowly recover, adding that the Montreal Protocol has protected millions of people from skin cancer and eye cataracts, safeguarding ecosystems and

slowing down climate change.

This year Ozone Day is held under the theme “Montreal Protocol: fixing the ozone layer and reducing climate change.”

 -New Ziana

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