Ghana will impose a blanket ban on the importation of used refrigeration equipment on January 1 next year.
According to Environment and Science Minister Sherry Ayittey, the move would show Ghana's commitment to achieve the "phase-out" targets in line with the Montreal Protocol, under which the consumption and production of substances that deplete the ozone layer would be banned by 2013.
In a statement on the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol on Thursday, the minister said the ban was necessary to ensure Ghana's successes in reducing the consumption of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) in refrigeration.
Working with institutions such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Energy Commission, the government helped the affected users to make transition to non-ozone depleting chemicals in an environmentally sound manner.
One such arrangement includes the registration of retailers and importers of used refrigerators and freezers and the issuance of importation quotas to control quantities of such equipment between June and December.
Ghana's main challenge, she said, was lack of interest on issues to do with the depletion of the ozone layer but commended donors for helping donors to meet their obligations under the protocol.
EPA executive director Daniel Amlalo said a number of programmes had been instituted to convert to ozone friendly alternatives in the country. These included awareness campaigns, training of technicians and engineers in good refrigeration practices and financial assistance to owners of CFC based cold storage facilities.
Over 600 refrigeration technicians and engineers had been introduced to hydrocarbon refrigeration technology, he said.
After the January deadline, Amlalo said those who impor ted refrigeration equipment without approval would be forced to send their products back to the countries of origin.
Jeremais Blasser, a deputy director of the United Nations Development Programme office in Accra, encouraged Ghana to remain committed to the protocol.
CFCs in refrigeration equipment reduce the ability of the ozone layer to absorb ultraviolet radiation from the sun. It prevents the sun's radiation from harming human beings, plants and the environment.
CFCs are also found in some deodorants, pesticides and weed-killers. Cancer, cataract and reduction in human immunity are some of the consequences of higher exposure to the sun's radiation.
The Montreal Protocol, an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion became operational in January 1989.
Since then, it has undergone seven revisions and experts say if the protocol is respected the ozone layer would recover by 2050.
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