By: Praise Nutakor | Voltaonlinegh.com |
The National Ozone Office of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has sensitized 1400 students from 21 senior high schools from Koforidua, Kumasi and Takoradi on Ozone depletion, its causes, effects and the need to protect the Ozone Layer.
The EPA in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), organised the sensitisation programme in Takoradi as part of activities to climax the 2018 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer under the theme: “Keep Cool and Carry on”
Taking the students through the Science of Ozone Layer Depletion Phenomenon and Its Effects on Humankind, Mr Emmanuel Osae-Quansah, National Coordinator of the Montreal Protocol Implementation Programme (National Ozone Office) at the EPA emphasised that the event was in line with efforts being made under the Montreal Protocol, which is an international treaty to protect the Ozone Layer.
The protocol, which Ghana has ratified, aims to phase out the production and consumption of Ozone-depleting substance (ODS) including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCS) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) used as refrigerants in refrigerators and air-conditioners, as well as halons used in fire extinguishers.
Mr. Osae-Quansah called on the students to sensitise their parents and others on the need to always check and ensure that technicians use ozone-friendly refrigerants such as hydrocarbon refrigerants, for instance R600, R600a, and R290 which are natural refrigerants and internationally accepted, cautioning the students to avoid excessive sun exposure to protect themselves.
“Ozone Depleting Substances like HCFCs and CFCs used in appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners cause damage to the Ozone Layer & expose us to ultraviolet radiations from the sun. This is harmful for the environment and for our health since it can cause diseases like skin cancer and blindness, hence the need to phase them out to help the Ozone Layer recover.”
Similarly, in a presentation on the linkages between climate change and ozone depletion, Mr. Joseph Baffoe, Senior Programme Officer at EPA underscored the need for behavioural changes to reduce emissions of excessive greenhouse gases.
These behavioural changes, he said must involve the replacement of incandescent light bulbs with florescent ones, old refrigerators with new efficient ones with energy star label, switching off lights and appliances not being used, and keeping air-conditioner filters clean regularly.
The presentations also took the students through proper handling and use of refrigerators.
The sensitization fell under two projects namely hydrochlorofluorocarbons Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) for Ghana and Institutional Strengthening on ODS being implemented by EPA and UNDP to phase out the use of ozone depleting chemicals in Ghana.
The HPMP project has so far established 3 Centres of Excellence in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning at the Accra Technical Training Centre, Takoradi Technical Institute and the Kumasi Technical Institute where refrigeration technicians are being trained on best practices in refrigeration using acceptable hydrocarbon refrigerants.
The projects have also built the capacity of customs officials at the ports and borders to identify and isolate unacceptable imported refrigerants.