NCCoPP Phasing Out CFC in India
 

In recent years, scientific research has proved that several chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons and methyl bromide contribute substantially to ozone depletion. CFCs developed in the early 1930s are non-toxic, non-flammable and are used extensively as coolants for commercial and home refrigeration units, aerosol propellants, electronic cleaning solvents, and blowing agents. Over time, these CFCs are released into the air and often, strong winds carry them into the stratosphere.

When CFC molecules drift into the stratosphere, the UV-B and UV-C radiation from the sun releases their chlorine atoms. Complex chemical reactions in the atmosphere result in the formation of chlorine monoxide, which reacts with the ozone molecule to form oxygen and regenerates more chlorine atoms that carry on converting the ozone molecules. Each chlorine atom can destroy as many as 100,000 ozone molecules over 100 years. Thus, even a small amount of CFCs can cause tremendous damage to the ozone layer.

THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL
In 1987, several countries across the world signed an international treaty, the Montreal Protocol, On Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. According to this protocol, countries would phase out CFCs and other ODS as per a given schedule, with a complete halt by 2010. 190 countries are signatories to the Montreal Protocol.

Under the Protocol, industrialized nations have rapidly eliminated most ozone depleting substances. Developing countries are following suit, with critical assistance from the Protocol's Multilateral Fund, which has already committed over US $ 1.5 billion to assist developing countries in the difficult transition to ozone-friendly substances.


BENEFITS OF CFC PHASE OUT

  • Protection of the Ozone Layer: The phasing out of CFCs will help tremendously in the recovery of the ozone layer. As a result of the phasing out, lesser amounts of CFCs will accumulate in the atmosphere, thereby leading to the less depletion of ozone.
  • Reduced Health Risks: The phase out of CFCs will have a positive impact on health risks posed by the depleting of the ozone layer. These health benefits include reduced incidence of skin cancer and cataracts, decreased risks to human immune systems, and increased protection of plant and animal life from excessive UV exposure. A United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) study shows that a sustained 1 percent decrease in stratospheric ozone will result in about a 2 percent increase in the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer, which can be fatal. With the successful phase out of CFCs, fewer instances of this fatal cancer are expected.
  • New Technologies: Phasing out of CFCs is prompting research and development of alternative technologies specially for cleaning applications in electronic assemblies and precision parts.
  • Energy Savings: As a consequence of CFC phase out, there has been considerable effort in many countries to develop and invest in a new generation of energy efficient air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment. This also impacts positively on global warming and climate change.
  • Pollution Prevention: The energy savings from equipment upgrades mean that less fossil fuel are burned at the power plant, leading to reduced emissions of air pollutants including carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). These pollutants are responsible for global warming and acid rain.

Indian Scenario
As per the Montreal Protocol, India is one of the Article 5 (1) countries consuming a large volume of CFCs, second only to China. India ratified the Montreal Protocol agreement in 1992 and the Government of India has taken many progressive steps to phase-out ODS in India. These include:

  • Setting up of a special Ozone Cell in the Ministry of Environment And Forests to co-ordinate all Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) phase-out initiatives.
  • Approval of the Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulations and Control) Rules 2000, which amongst others restricts the manufacturing of CFCs, CFC-based refrigeration equipment and consumption of CFCs. These rules set a deadline of January 1, 2003 for the complete phase-out of CFCs in the RAC manufacturing sector.
  • A large number of Industry-specific Multilateral Fund funded projects have been approved and successfully implemented to phase out ODS in various sectors.
  • Preparation of an Indian Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Sector Strategy (RAC SSS) that will help phase-out ODS in this sector.
  • Formulation of Chiller Sector Strategy to phase-out ODS
  • Training of Custom Officials and other officers associated with implementation of Ozone Regulations
  • Implementation of ECOFRIG and HIDECOR projects in the RAC sector
  • Organizing State workshops across the country regarding ODS phase-out.
  • Current major initiatives include
    • CFC production sector phase-out in all sectors
    • Carbon Tetra Chloride(CTC) Phase-out
    • CFC Phase-out in small assembly/servicing enterprises of commercial refrigeration appliances
    • National CFC Consumption Phase-out Plan (NCCoPP)

 






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