The Montreal Protocols, preservation of the ozone layer and matters arising

Penultimate month, stakeholders’ gathered in Abuja to brainstorm on method to adopt in preserving the ozone layer, and how to contribute significantly to global efforts at addressing climate change. HELEN OJI reports.

Background

Over the past three decades, the Vienna convention and its Montreal protocol have spurred 198 nations to work together on phasing out ozone depleting substances (ODS), as a way of protecting the ozone layer and large increase in ultra-violet radiation being experienced in most parts of the world; not only that, they have also looked at ways of contributing significantly to global efforts at checkmating natural occurrences viz a’ vis climate change.

The  2018 International Day for the preservation of the ozone layer themed:  “keep cool and carry on” is not only apt but also a rallying point for not only signatories countries, but also critical stakeholders’ who have consistently advocates the urgent needs to follow to the letter the ‘Montreal protocol’.

Considerably, the Montreal protocol has succeeded in phasing out nearly 100 percent of controlled ozone depleting substances which is considered as potent global warming gases.

Accordingly, the phase out of these substances has also resulted in significant benefits to human health, just as the ozone layers has reportedly heal itself and thus expected to recover by the middles of this century.

Meanwhile, Nigeria a signatory country since 1998 has been part of these global efforts and has subsequently signed all the related amendments. As a party to these treaties and in line with the protocol’s provisions, has continued to receive financial and technical assistance from the Multilateral Fund (MLF) for the implementation of the Montreal Protocol to phase out the use ozone Depleting substances, through capacity building and institutional strengthening as well as conversion to ozone – friendly technology and processes in the affected industrial sectors.

 

  Taming the effect of Ozone depleting substances

According to the minister of state for environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril, the country is currently implementing our hydrochloroflurocarbon phase out management, known as (HPMP). The HPMP is intended to lead to the completed phase out of hydrochloroflurocarbon (HCFCs) by 2040.

However, he added: “This will be achieved in phase and our current activities are in the phase 1 of the HPMP, which started in 2012 with a view to achieving 15% phase out of HCFCs on completion.

Continuing, Jibril said: “The key component of the stage 1 HPMP is the pilot plant for the production of high grade hydrocarbon refrigerants to be used as alternatives to HCFCs in the refrigeration and Air conditioning and its related servicing sector.

“The plant had since been completed and commissioned in 2015 and we are in the process of devising ways of commercializing the plant,”

The Ogoni Clean-up question

On Ogoni clean up, the Minister argues that government was placing high premium on the project which is aimed at reclaiming land hitherto contaminated by oil spills, and give citizens clean water and air.

Similarly, in actualization of its resolved to rid the environment of anti-nature elements, the Federal government had at 2018 National Advancement Conference in Abuja, equally maintained that all hands must be on deck to beat plastic pollution, saying that a national plastic management policy is in the offing, as a way of checkmating the proliferation of plastic waste materials in the country.

When fully implemented, the policy according to him would guide the course of action for relevant stakeholders in mitigating the alarming spread of single use plastic materials in our daily lives.

Represented by Dr. Domini Abonyi, Registrar of Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria, the Minister said that government has resolved to improve health status of Nigerians.

He added that they would provide needed support and guide towards enhancement of environmental services by fostering collaboration with partners nationally and internationally.

The United Nations perspective

But, according to Country representatives and regional director, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Dr. Jean Bakole who was represented by Mr. Reuben Bamidele at the programme, the implementing agency has since implemented over 1,400 projects, assisting more than 98 countries to phase out more than 71,000 tonnes ODP per year of worlds total consumption of ozone depleting substances.

He said: “We worked with Nigeria in successfully achieving the ban on importation, production and phasing out of chlorofluorocarbons, methyibromide and halons.  We just completed the identification, aggregation and disposal of unwanted CFCs with a Nigeria company, and has reviewed and updated the national regulation of ozone layer protection with NESREA.

Also speaking, National consultant, public health and environment, Mr. Edwin Isotu Ecteh, noted that ozone layers as unique nature priceless gifts to mankind, describing it as critical component of the earth’s atmosphere that protects man and everything on the earth surface from the deleterious effect of the ultraviolet (UV) radiation of the sun.

He said: “Without support service of the ozone layer, human existence could have been severely plagued with unimaginable scourge and diseases. It therefore becomes imperative that the ozone layer be protected and preserved to guarantee our continued safety and prevent resultant non- communicable diseases (NCDs) to achieve sound health and wellbeing for the human population.

Speaking further, he stated that it is time for us to encourage relevant environmental and health enforcement and regulatory institutions in Nigeria to galvanize effort towards the prevention of illegal or unwanted trade in ozone depleting substances. These substances in his words, contributes enormously to global warming as well climate change.

FG intervention

Significantly, as event unfolds, and as a way of reducing the effect of the scourge, the Federal Government has concluded arrangement to make use of seven national parks to serve as genebank for genetic resources conservation.

The Conservator-General, National Parks Service (NPS), Ibrahim Goni gave the hint when members of Bikers Association paid him a courtesy in Abuja recently, explaining that in the country’s parks, there are animals and genetic resources that are still in their original state, which they have preserved for sustainable use

According to him, the genes are vital for country’s future wellbeing, and bio-diversity, saying that nature are on their own, as well as serve as sources of wonders and delight.

He said: “We have wild species that flourish as natural systems that can help regulate climate change, air quality, and cycles of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, mineral elements and water,”

He further explained that the service was reaching out to both national and international bodies to make national parks household name, calling on them to showcase country’s rich heritage to the world.

Corroborating Goni, President of Latin American Motorcycle Association (LAMA) in Nigeria, Ernest Akhikpemelo explains that they were on tour organised by National Commission for Museums and Monuments assuring, that ‘Rediscover Nigeria Heritage Tour 2018 was borne out of the need to explore a unique way to promote and propagate tourism potential inherent in our culture using biking expedition.

Akhikpemelo also said that they are considering making it annual event, adding that Bikers will FCT, Niger, Kogi, Anambra, Cross River, Rivers, Bayelsa, Edo, Ondo, Osun and Lagos.

“We will do video and pictorial coverage of monument sites that abound and to beam them to local and international audiences. This will attract attention public to museums and culture,” he added.




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