Kenya has initiated the ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down production and consumption of hydroflurocarbons that serve as alternatives to ozone depleting substances, Environment Principal Secretary Mr. Charles Sunkuli has said.
He said that a joint enforcement team comprising of the Environment Ministry, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and Kenya Revenue Authority was working to ensure that substances that deplete the ozone layer were not imported into the country.
The PS noted the Ministry would strengthen its capacity to monitor and restrict the entry of Ozone depleting substances (ODS) into the country through regular evaluation meetings with the relevant government agencies and in line with the October 2016, Kigali Amendment of the Montreal protocol.
Mr. Sunkuli was speaking this morning when he received officials from the German International Agency (GIZ) PROKLIMA, project who paid a courtesy call on him to update on the progress of the Kigali Amendment. The project deals with climate change, environment and infrastructure whose manager Philipp Denzinger led the delegation.
The ozone layer is the Earth’s natural sunscreen, filtering out harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. UV rays can cause damage to humans and other forms of life.
Although the ozone layer is high up in the atmosphere, chemical substances used at the surface of the planet can damage it. If the ozone layer is damaged, UV rays can get through and cause damage to humans and other forms of life. It is therefore necessary to protect the ozone layer chemicals.
According to the United States Environment protection Agency (epa), one of the chemicals used that damages the ozone layer is a refrigerant gas known as R22.
This gas (a hydrochlorofluorocarbon or HCFC) was one of the last remaining ozone depleting substances that is in common use. However, the use of R22 for service and maintenance is now banned according to epa.
However the ODS have been gradually replaced by Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC’s) that do not deplete the ozone but are a significant global warmer and have a negative impact on climate.
Further the epa says the Montreal Protocol is considered to be the most successful global environmental agreement setting out commitments by every country in the world to eliminate production and use of the chemicals that damage the ozone layer.
The PS was accompanied by the National Coordinator of the Ozone unit in the Ministry Mr. Kirui Maridany among other officials.