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Philippines to curb import of ozone-depleting chemicals.

Manila The Philippines is set to restrict the import of products containing ozone-depleting substances.

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje said the government has decided to set a limit on the import of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), a group of ozone depleting substances (ODS), starting 2013.

The Philippine official said the import restrictions on HCFCs is pursuant to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer, to which the Philippines is a signatory.

"Starting 2013, we are putting a cap on the importation of HCFC to 2,644 metric tonnes -- the country's average import of HCFC from 2009 to 2010," Paje said.

Studies had shown that HCFC are responsible for the gradual depletion of the earth's ozone layer, an important component in the atmosphere that blocks the entry of harmful solar rays. Experts had warned that the gradual destruction of this protective layer could turn the Earth into a giant greenhouse, triggering a range of effects including the melting of icecaps and increase in global water levels.

Paje further said the country's import of HCFC products will be reduced by 10 per cent from the base level of 2,644 tonnes to 2,3796 tonnes by 2015 and then by 35 per cent to 1,718.6 tonnes by 2020. It will be reduced further by 67.5 per cent to 859.3 tonnes in 2025.

And from 2030 to 2039, Paje said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will restrict the import of the substance to only 66.1 tonnes annually, representing 2.5 per cent of the base level, for the continued use of the servicing sector.

HCFCs is a group of ozone-depleting substances controlled by the Montreal Protocol and is the last of eight ODS groups to be phased out by the Protocol. The other ODS that have already been phased out in the country include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) 11, 12, 113, 114, halon 1301 and 1211, carbon tetrachloride and methyl chloroforms.

HCFC consumption in the Philippines is attributed to HCFC-22, more commonly known as R-22, HCFC-141b, HCFC-123 and blends of HCFC-225. HCFCs are commonly used as substitutes for CFCs in the foam blowing, refrigeration, fire-extinguishing, solvent and servicing sectors.

Of these HCFCs, Paje said the DENR will prioritise the phase-out of HCFC-141b because it has the most ozone-depleting potential. It will initially cover the foam sector, particularly the polyurethane rigid foam in appliances, panels and sprays.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Oct 8, 2011
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