Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) Phase-Out

Trinidad and Tobago acceded to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, and the Montreal Protocol for the Phase-out of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) in 1989. Our country was the first of the Caribbean Commonwealth to become a party to this Multilateral Environmental Agreement and has since ratified  all amendments to the Protocol.

Subsequent to the accession, the National Ozone Unit (NOU) was established in August 1997 within the Environmental Policy and Planning Division. This unit ensures that the country meets the obligations under the Protocol.  The efforts of the Unit over the years have resulted in the phase out of:

i. All ozone depleting substances (ODS) used in the fire protection sector (halons)

ii.Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used in the foam and aerosol sectors 

iii.The imports of all CFCs as of December 31, 2007.

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) was one of the chemicals used as a transient replacement for CFCs because the potential level of damage to the ozone layer was less than that caused by CFC use. However, given the increase in usage of HCFC on the global market and the consequent threat to the ozone layer, a landmark decision was made at the 20th Anniversary Meeting of the Montreal Protocol to accelerate the phase out of HCFCs.

Under this accelerated phase out schedule, the following was revised:

The phase out of HCFCs in Trinidad and Tobago began on January 1, 2013. Even though we do not produce any ozone depleting substances, our consumption is based on our imports. As a result, these chemicals are listed on the country's import negative list and require and import license from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment. 

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