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Jordan granted $2.7 million to phase out use of ozone-depleting substances

By Hana Namrouqa - Feb 13,2014 - Last updated at Feb 13,2014

AMMAN — Jordan on Thursday received a $2.7 million grant from the Montreal Fund to support phasing out the use of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), substances that damage the ozone layer.

Under the third phase of a national project that seeks to eliminate the use of ozone-depleting chemicals, five companies manufacturing air conditioners and cooling systems that use HCFCs will be supported to replace the harmful substances with environment-friendly materials and technologies.

“Under the third stage, a total of 500 tonnes of HCFCs will be phased out at five companies manufacturing central cooling systems and air conditioners,” Environment Minister Taher Shakhshir said during a ceremony to launch the project’s third phase.

The Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol is financing the Kingdom’s strategy to get rid of 1,500 tonnes of chemical materials by the year 2020, according to the Ministry of Environment.

The strategy’s first phase aims at reducing 20 per cent of HCFCs by the year 2017 by replacing central cooling systems using the substance, banning the import of home appliances that use the harmful mixture of gases and powering air conditioning systems with solar power.

“Phasing out the use of ozone-depleting substances will raise the calibre of Jordanian industries, increase their competitiveness in the international market, improve the quality of products, raise their energy efficiency and reduce the electricity bill,” Shakhshir said.

Jordan is signatory to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, 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.

Ghazi Odat, director of the Environment Ministry’s ozone project, said that over 100 industries manufacture air conditioners, central cooling systems and other products that use 1,000 tonnes of HCFCs.

“More phases of the project will be launched in the future to reach a point where none of the industries use ozone-depleting chemicals,” Odat told The Jordan Times.

With 75 per cent of refrigerants being released into the atmosphere and causing depletion of the ozone layer, environmentalists and researchers call for strengthening laws that govern the import, export and use of ozone-depleting chemicals.

Scientists estimate that a 1 per cent decrease in the ozone layer’s thickness would lead to a 1.3 per cent increase in the volume of ultraviolet rays reaching the Earth, an increase which they say poses serious consequences for human beings, fauna and flora.

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