South Africa commemorates International Day for the preservation of the ozone layer

16 September 2018

 

The Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Barbara Thomson has urged all South Africans to minimise consumption of Ozone Depleting Substance (ODS) as the world commemorates International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer today, 16 September 2018.

The International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, usually referred to as World Ozone Day, is an initiative of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and is observed as a result of the signing of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer on 17 September 1987. The Protocol seeks to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the ozone reducing substances.

In order to control the consumption of the ODS, the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has developed the regulations for the phasing-out and management of ozone depleting substances in line with the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, 2004 (Act No. 39 of 2004).

Deputy Minister Thomson cautioned that non-compliance with the regulations may have adverse effects on human health. “Whilst we acknowledge that the chemical industry contributes to development of other industrial sectors, practices in this industry should be done in an environmental friendly manner,” said Deputy Minister Thomson.

South Africa, as a party to the Vienna Convention for the protection of Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that deplete the ozone layer, is on course to reduce its consumption of Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC).

“Even though we met our 2017/18 target to reduce HCFC consumption by 20%, more still needs to be done. Successful elimination of such substances will provide a significant boost in our efforts to address environmental preservation such as ozone layer recovery and climate change impacts,” said Deputy Minister Thomson.

The issues of ozone depletion and climate change have been at the forefront of the international community’s environmental agenda for several years. It is now generally accepted that man-made chemicals and human activities have adverse impact on the global climate. Therefore, ozone depletion and climate change cannot be separated from one another as they are directly related to each other. Ozone depletion produces an indirect cooling effect, while an abundance of ODSs results in the warming of the atmosphere. 

As announced during the tabling of the Department’s budget vote policy statement, Cabinet has recommended to Parliament that South Africa ratify the Minamata Convention on Mercury and the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on the Protection of the Ozone Layer. The Kigali amendment will have co-benefits for mitigating climate change and ozone-depletion.

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