Barbados has achieved significant milestones and met its compliance obligations and phase-out targets under the Montreal Protocol for the phasing out of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS).
Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, made this known today during a media briefing and presentation to celebrate the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer which is observed annually on September 16.
Speaking during the briefing at the Ministry’s Hincks Street, St. Michael headquarters, the Minister explained that the Protocol required developed countries to achieve a hydrochlofluorocarbons (HCFC) production and consumption target of zero by the year 2020. However, developing countries like Barbados have been given a 2030 deadline.
To date, Barbados was successful in its identification of refrigerant gases as the main category of ODS imported into Barbados, and those that are likely to pose the greatest compliance management challenges.
In addition, the country has also accomplished the facilitation and formation of a national Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (RAC) Association and the training of approximately 329 frontline officers of the Customs and Excise Department, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and the Plant Quarantine Unit.
Barbados has also been successful in the phase-out trade in Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerant gases and several other ODS chemicals listed under the Protocol for global phase-out by January 1, 2010.
Dr. Lowe pointed out that 61 technicians from the refrigeration and air conditioning sector, and 26 from the mobile air conditioning sector were trained last November under the subject: Good Practices for Retrofitting Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems, and given equipment.
In addition, he noted that the establishment of a national Import/Export Regulatory system through an amendment to the Customs (List of Prohibited and Restricted Imports and Exports) Order, administered under the Customs Act Cap 66 to include the entire suite of 96 chemicals listed under the Protocol as ODS, was also achieved.
Within recent months, the country also witnessed the start of a new advertising campaign using three Transport Board buses to share the HCFC phase-out message, and the start of the preparation of a HCFC Phase Out Management Plan project.
However, the Minister stressed that education was also a key component in the phasing-out process, and noted that the media would be a major vehicle in assisting with that effort as the Ministry needed to keep the community informed.
"We hope that we can encourage a tighter relationship between the Ministry and the media, so that we can continue to have a partnership in terms of getting our information out to the broader public," Dr. Lowe said.