Samoa moves to fulfil Montreal Protocol obligation

Samoa is moving to fulfil her obligations under the Montreal Protocol with the freezing of hydrofluorocarbons (H.F.Cs).

The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion. Hydrofluorocarbons on the other hand are organic compounds that contain fluorine and hydrogen atoms, and are the most common type of organofluorine compounds.

Samoa Meteorology Office's Principal Ozone Officer, Tumau Neru, said the process is a longterm project with the goal being that by 2045, Samoa would have already phased out 85 percent of H.F.Cs.

"The Kigali Amendment was adopted by the Parties of the Montreal Protocol in October 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda to phase down Hydrofluorocarbons (H.F.Cs), which are frequently used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances (O.D.Ss)," Ms. Neru told the Samoa Observer.

"Although H.F.Cs are not O.D.Ss, they are powerful greenhouse gases that have significant global warming potentials (G.W.Ps).

"Under the Kigali Amendment Samoa along with other countries will commit to cut the production and consumption of H.F.Cs by more than 80% over the next 30 years. It is expected that this will avoid up to 0.5° Celsius warming by the end of the century, while continuing to protect the ozone layer, according to UN Environment.

"Through the Kigali Amendment, the Montreal Protocol takes responsibility for HFCs and plays a leading role in working towards an environmentally sustainable World where no one is left behind, consistent with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development."

The information further states that Samoa was the 30th Party to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the Ozone Layer having ratified the Amendment on the 23rd March 2018.

"The ratification signifies Samoa’s firm commitment to saving Planet Earth not only from ozone depletion but also from Global Warming."

She further stated that Samoa is currently phasing out Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (H.C.F.Cs) which has a different schedule from H.F.Cs and 97.5% (reduction from baseline) of this substance should be phased out by 2030.

When asked about what is being done in Samoa that contributes to global warming she stated that in reducing global warming,   the substances phased out under the Montreal Protocol have both ozone-depleting potential (ODP) and global warming potential (GWP).  

"Therefore as the Montreal Protocol controls and reduces consumption of ozone-depleting substances it is also contributing to reducing consumption of global warming substances," she said.

Ms. Neru also explained that awareness programmes are being carried out by MNRE through the Ozone Section encourages importers of equipment such as refrigerators and air conditioning units to procure Environmental safe technologies, such as appliances that run on low GWP refrigerants and non O.D.P refrigerants. 

"Trainings are also carried out by the Ministry in collaboration with the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Association of Samoa (R.A.C.A.S) to build capacity of Refrigeration and Air conditioning (R.A.C) technicians to avoid emissions of ozone depleting and global warming substances," she said.

"Training for Customs officers are continuous to ensure effective border control of controlled substances. All companies importing controlled substances are to be licensed under the Ozone Layer Protection Regulations 2006 therefore imports without a license is prohibited."

She explained that ways the public can contribute to protecting the ozone layer is through awareness programs such as stakeholders workshops, ozone awareness day, RAC Industry trade seminars that are carried out by the Ministry to encourage use of the right technologies.

"There has also been TV programs produced to inform the public about ozone protection which encourages the use of licensed RAC technicians to perform servicing of equipment in households and also companies to avoid accidents," she said.

"Simple household practices are also encouraged to maintain appliances conditions to avoid leaks and save energy. The general public are also encouraged to purchase environmental safe technologies and inform overseas relatives to check banned technologies before sending items as personal effects."

Ms. Neru explained that alternatives to ozone depleting and global warming refrigerants that are found in Samoa are Refrigerators: R600a (Hydrocarbon) and Air Conditioning: R290 (Hyrdocarbon) and R32 (H.F.C - G.W.P).

"Although these technologies are safe for the Ozone Layer and Global warming they are flammable refrigerants thus require special skills and care during servicing," she said.

"Thus the Ministry have and continue to conduct training for RAC technicians to address the flammability and toxicity issues by promoting good RAC practices and use of Personal Protective Equipment for health and safety."

When asked if when Samoa will be completely Ozone friendly she said, "The issue of being completely ozone friendly is currently uncertain."

"This is due to one of the ozone depleting substances used in the pre-shipment fumigation at the Quarantine Department that is exempted for use under the Montreal Protocol until an alternative is available for Samoa," she said.

Ms. Neru concluded that Samoa is in compliance with all her obligations under the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer and continues to commit in fulfilling future obligations.

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