Smugglers derail ozone conservation efforts
EFFORTS that Zimbabwe is making to phase out the use of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) in refrigeration and air- conditioning are being derailed by the rampant smuggling of the gases into the country.
Addressing the media ahead of the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri said illicit trade in phased out ODS has increased globally.
“As we phase out the ozone depleting refrigerants and introduce the ozone and climate friendly ones, illegal trade in phased out Ozone Depleting Substances has increased across the globe. Different smuggling schemes have been used to move banned ODS and contaminated refrigerants across borders,” she said.
“There is need to train our customs officers and equip them with skills, knowledge and tools to outwit these illegal ODS traders,” she added.
Minister Muchinguri said Zimbabwe was not an exception to the smuggling schemes, adding that her Ministry was working with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority to train customs officers and equip them with tools and skills to combat illegal ODS trade.
“A total of sixteen refrigerant identifiers have been distributed to all major ports of entry to help in the detection of mislabeled refrigerants. Since January 2010, over 350 cylinders of contaminated and mislabelled refrigerants have been held or seized at our ports of entry,” she said.
She said work to review ODS regulations was also underway.
“My Ministry with advice from the Attorney General’s Office is reviewing the ODS regulations in line with latest developments under the Montreal Protocol. The new regulations will ban imports of phased out substances and make it mandatory for all refrigeration technicians and users of refrigerants to be trained and certified,” she said.