Minister of Environment, Dr. Denis Lowe, presenting Lecturer at the Smauel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, Edwin Gibson, with the ozone-related equipment.??

Come January 1, next year, Barbados will be obligated to phase out its trade in chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

Word of this has come from Project Manager at the Ministry of Environment, Water Resources and Drainage, Rickardo Ward, who disclosed that this move was in compliance with the Montreal Protocol, which seeks to eliminate the production and importation of nearly 100 chemicals that have ozone depleting substances (ODS).??????????????

Mr. Ward was speaking today at the Ministry’s Hincks Street headquarters, during a brief ceremony, where refrigerant identifiers (ozone-related equipment) were presented to representatives of the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, the Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Association and the Customs and Excise Department.

In explaining the rationale behind the presentation of the identifiers, the Project Manager pointed out that next Wednesday, September 16, was International Ozone Day. He said it was timely for the Ministry to make a donation to assist other sectors, as there was a need for heightened vigilance nationally and globally to ensure that trade of CFCs did not thrive, if this country was to succeed with the objectives of the Protocol.

He added that refrigerant gases were identified as the most significant grouping of ODS.

Meanwhile, Minister of Environment, Dr. Denis Lowe, who was also in attendance, stated that "protection of the ozone is critical to the survival of humanity". He pointed out that although Barbados is a small island developing state, it had pushed the global consciousness to focus on developing countries and it had to continue to put mechanisms in place to assist in this process.

The Environment Minister made it clear that "as a party to the protocol, Barbados had achieved several milestones that served as a positive contribution to this global partnership". He noted that through monitoring efforts, refrigerant gases were shown to be the main ODS group of national concern for phase-out.

"Thus far, we have reduced our CFC import by 95 per cent and expect to establish full compliance with the requirements for zero imports by January 1, 2010," he revealed.

The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of a number of substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion.

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