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Barbados is in the process of preparing a phase-out management plan that will govern the total phasing out of hydrochlofluorocarbons (HCFC) refrigerant gases presently being used in equipment such as air conditioning systems, freezers and refrigerators.
The first of three stakeholder consultations for the preparation of Barbados’ (HCFC) Phase-Out Management Plan (HPMP) was held at Hilton Barbados recently, headed by officials from the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage.
Speaking during the meeting, Project Manager, Rickardo Ward, explained that HCFC, a combination of hydrogen, chlorine, fluorine and carbon, was used to replace chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gas, a mixture of chlorine, fluorine and carbons, as it had a shorter life when exposed to the atmosphere resulting in less potential damage to the ozone.
However, he told those present at the meeting that Barbados was signatory to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer since 1992. "The Protocol speaks to substances which are identified as causing harm to the ozone layer, and to their removal," he said.
He told stakeholders, including members of the Barbados Fire Service, the Environmental Protection Department, Customs & Excise Department, Coast Guard and the Royal Barbados Police Force, the National Ozone Steering Committee, the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association and the Government Laboratories, that one of the primary objectives of the plan was to remove such chemicals from use so the ozone could recover.
Mr. Ward noted that refrigerant gases were a primary concern, and there was a need to bring about change through a full phase-out plan.
He noted that with effect from January 1, 2010, it became illegal to trade CFC, and a similar phasing out approach would be adopted for HCFC.
Project Consultant, Leslie Smith, explained that Barbados was requested by the executive committee of the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol to adopt a staged approach in its phase-out strategies for HCFCs.
??That project, he said, would be done in four components. They are: a national HCFC survey; an international market survey; three stakeholder workshops and consultations, and the development of the HPMP project document.
Mr. Smith explained that the first component would seek to obtain consumption data for 2009 to 2011; the availability of prices and alternatives; inventory of Refrigeration Air Conditioning (RAC) equipment by sectors and the development of a project that would incorporate HCFC use.
"Local contractors will be used to conduct the surveys. The survey tools have already been prepared and submitted to Government for approval in the form of questionnaires," Mr. Smith explained.
The second component of the project would involve desktop surveys which will be used to determine the availability of HCFC alternatives and emerging technology and identify market trends.
Meanwhile, the third component will see the hosting of stakeholder consultations, the first of which was held yesterday to get feedback and included all those involved in the process.
Mr. Smith also noted that the fourth component featured the development of the HPMP document which would be completed within recommended guidelines.
However, he said that they were very constrained by the target to complete the project by its July 2012 deadline so that it could reach the committee by the beginning of August in preparation for November when it would be up for approval.
He added that the first freeze of the HCFC was expected to be done on January 1, 2013. Following that a 10 per cent reduction was due in 2015; a 35 per cent reduction in 2020; 67.5 per cent in 2025; and the complete phase out of the chemical in 2030.