International Ozone Day: Drastic reduction in use of harmful chemicals urged
By Imran Naeem Ahmad
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Environment Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat on Saturday called for a drastic reduction in the use of the Ozone depleting chemical Carbon Tetra Chloride (CTC).
“This poses a great challenge and we need to control the use of the chemical by cutting down its consumption to 15 percent,” said the minister while speaking at a function organised to mark the International Ozone Day.
Pakistan is a signatory to virtually all international environmental conventions and protocols including the Montreal Protocol. “Pakistan will continue to make efforts to control CTC’s usage in partnership with national stakeholders and through governmental controls,” he added.
In order to check the problem, Pakistan’s Directorate General of Customs and Research and UN’s Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has trained 199 customs officers to increase their capacity in identifying Ozone depleting substances, Faisal said, adding that “The role of the customs departments at this stage is of key importance to government’s efforts in tackling the problem”.
Faisal stressed that no government could accomplish much without the participation of the general public and all stakeholders.
The Ozone layer acts protects life on earth from the harmful ultraviolet-B radiation rays emitted by the sun. But the use of chemicals such as Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), Halons, CTC, Methyl Chloroform and Methyl Bromide has led to the layer’s depletion, commonly known as the Ozone Hole.
The Ozone Day is held annually on September 16. In 1995 the United Nations General Assembly announced an international day for the Ozone. On this day, 188 member countries of the Montreal Protocol draw the attention of the world community towards the problem. Earlier, Khizar Hayat, the project director of the Ministry of Environment’s Ozone Cell, highlighted the policy and regulatory measures undertaken to protect the Ozone layer while Jan Vandermootle, the UNDP representative, read out the UN secretary-general’s message on the day’s significance.