Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Halt on gas import

Samisoni Nabilivalu
Friday, December 23, 2011

THE Department of Environment has revealed that a batch of Refrigerant 134A (R134A) sold locally is actually not 100 per-cent R134A.
The imported refrigerant is used in the car air conditioning systems and commercial and domestic refrigeration.

According to the packaging, the cylinder contains R134A but tests conducted by Seru Ramakita, an Ozone Depleting Substances Inspector with Department of Environment, have proven otherwise.

Mr Ramakita made the discovery by accident earlier this year when demonstrating the use of a refrigerant identifier to customs officers at a workshop in Lautoka.

"The R134A I used for the demonstration was not 100 per cent," he said.

"It was cross contaminated with chlorofluorocarbon and hydro chlorofluorocarbons.

"I kept the discovery to myself because it was a big issue.

"I needed more evidence before we could make any moves and I was hoping one of the companies would bring it up as well."

Lincoln Refrigeration Limited director Praveen Singh was the first to approach Mr Ramakita after the processors for some of their fridges kept burning out.

Mr Singh said he suspected the R134A was inferior and Mr Ramakita confirmed his suspicions after he tested the gas.

"We also supply gas and we've never had this problem before.

"We had a shortage of gas, so we bought the R134A from another supplier," Mr Singh said.

Mr Ramakita confirmed all importers, wholesalers, and retailers of the product had been instructed to halt imports and remove the refrigerant from their shelves as investigations continue.

He said many businesses would have suffered unnecessarily if the product had continued to be used.

Mr Ramakita would not identify the manufacturer or local supplier of the product.

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