Zimbabwe intensifies measures to halt ozone layer depletion Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu

Michael Magoronga, [email protected]

GOVERNMENT is in the process of implementing activities to phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HCFs) in all sectors as it intensifies measures to reduce further damage to the ozone layer and climate change.

The stratospheric ozone layer acts as a shield that protects life on Earth from dangerous ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. It allows only sufficient UV doses that are needed for the sustenance of life for human beings, plants and wildlife.


However, the man-made chemicals used mostly in refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) are depleting this protective ozone layer thereby exposing humans to problems which include eye cataracts, skin cancers, and suppressed immune systems in human beings among others.

Many of these ozone-depleting substances are also greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming and climate change that the world is battling with. The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 16 September as the International Day for the preservation of the ozone layer whose theme for this year’s commemorations was ‘Montreal Protocol; fixing the Ozone Layer and reducing Climate change.” 

The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion. It was agreed on 16 September 1987, and entered into force on 1 January 1989.

The Kigali Amendments to the Montreal Protocol which was adopted in October 2016 aims to phase out the production and consumption of HFCs, which are powerful greenhouse gases that replace ozone-depleting substances.

Zimbabwe, as a signatory, ratified the Kigali Amendment and is implementing activities to phase out such substances.

In a speech to mark the day, Environment, Climate and Wildlife Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said his ministry reviewed the old regulations and promulgated new regulations to control the use of HFCs in all sectors.

“My ministry is working closely with customs officers and environmental officers at major points of entry and stations across the country to enforce the provision of newly introduced regulations meant to control the importing of substances that deplete the ozone layer,” he said.

“While the regulations control the import and use of substances, they facilitate local industries to operate in a sustainable manner.”

Minister Ndlovu said the regulations enable the local industry to be competitive while meeting international standards by adopting climate-friendly alternatives that are now readily available.

He urged the generality of Zimbabweans to look for alternative ways of refrigerating wherever possible.

“While regulating at the manufacturing stage is vital, there is a need for the public to self-regulate by opting for natural solutions to food preservatives that require cold chain supply systems. Such approaches mean reverting and promoting natural food preservation and storage, greater accessibility to fresh food, and reducing cold food storage that requires refrigeration,” said Minister Ndlovu.

He said Zimbabwe was on the right track in terms of addressing HCFs, which are already based on low refrigeration density per capita as compared to other countries.

Minister Ndlovu said Government has also partnered with the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ), the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, and the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (RAC) Association to implement the minimum energy performance standards for domestic refrigeration and air conditioning appliances.

“As the world replaces HFCs with ozone and climate-friendly refrigeration, we are setting ourselves on a course to tackle both ozone layer depletion and climate change thereby improving the quality of life on earth,” he said.

The commemorations come at a time when Government is implementing the second stage of the HCFs phase of a management plan and has received the second tranche.

The second stage will enable the country to eliminate the use of HFCs by January 2030 and this will result in more climate benefits as these substances have global warming potentials.

According to the 2022 Scientific Assessment Panel Report, the ozone layer recovery is on track, and ozone levels are expected to return to 1980 levels by around 2066 over the Antarctic and by 2046 over the Arctic.

This, according to the report, is due to restrictions on the use of ozone-depleting substances and allowing the ozone layer to slowly recover.

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