MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine government will finally start to put an end to the use of harmful substances that deplete the earth’s ozone layer by 2013.
Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje announced the other day that a freeze order on the importation of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) more than a year from now.
He said the ban on ozone-depleting substances (ODS) 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 tons (MT) — the country’s average import of HCFC from 2009 to 2010,” Paje said.
From the base level of 2,644 MT, the HCFC import will be gradually reduced by 10 percent, to 2,3796 MT by 2015; 35 percent to 1,718.6 MT by 2020; then 67.5 percent, to 859.3 MT in 2025.
Paje said that from 2030 to 2039 the DENR would allow the import of the substance to only 66.1 MT annually, representing 2.5 percent of the base level, for the continued use of the servicing sector.
HCFCs are a group of ODS controlled by the Montreal Protocol and comprise the last of eight ODS groups to be phased out pursuant to 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.
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 prioritize the phaseout of HCFC-141b because it has the most ozone-depleting potential (ODP) of 0.11 as compared with HCFC-22 or R-22 with an ODP of .055 only, HCFC-123 with 0.02 and HCFC blends, from .025 to .033.
He said phaseout would initially cover the foam sector, particularly the polyurethane rigid foam in appliances, panels and sprays.
A total of 364.34 MT of HCFCs is projected to be phased out under the project, which is being implemented by the DENR through the Environmental Management Bureau in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.
Paje said a total of $2.26 million was granted to fund the project from Japan and the Multilateral Fund.