The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will ban the importation of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), more commonly known as ‘freon’, starting January next year.
The import ban on CFCs is in consonance with the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer as well as the National CFC Phase-out Plan. He also said the ban will boost the ozone layer’s ability to protect all living things on earth as it heals itself.
The move of the Department to ban the entry of CFCs into the country starting next year is our commitment to the global effort to control the emission of ozone depleting substances and enable our damaged ozone layer to heal.
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) will be assisting the DENR in the strict enforcement of the ban to avert any attempt to smuggle the banned chemicals into the country. The Bureau of Customs is with us in this campaign, and I am happy to announce that measures are already in place to prevent unauthorized entry of the banned chemicals into the country.
Discovered in the late 1920s, CFCs are used in various industries as refrigerant, propellant, solvent and cleaning agent. Studies, however, showed that CFCs are capable of destroying the ozone molecules in the atmosphere resulting in the thinning of the ozone layer. Included in the banned list of CFCs are CFC 11, CFC 12, CFC 13, CFC 113, CFC 114, CFC 115 and R 502.
With the import ban, I am urging all refrigerant dealers to purchase their CFC supply only from registered importers. Various industries are likewise encouraged to shift to ozone-friendly refrigerants. I am appealing to the public to patronize only the service shops that are accredited by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as well as the technicians who are certified by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for the servicing needs of their refrigerators and air conditioners.
The discovery of an ozone ‘hole’ over the Antarctic prompted governments all over the world to come up with drastic measures to reduce the production and consumption of a number of CFCs and several halons through the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer adopted on Sept. 16, 1987.
Last September, on the 22nd anniversary of the Protocol, the fight against ozone depletion has reached a universal participation of 196 countries, including the Philippines.
The Philippines became a signatory to the Montreal Protocol on September 14, 1988. The ratification of the Protocol by the Philippine Senate on March 21, 1991 and the subsequent Montreal and Beijing amendments in 2006 paved the way towards the commitment of CFC-Free Philippines.
Report from the National CFC Phase-out Plan Project of the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau, which acts as the national coordinator for the implementation of the CFC phase-out, indicates that the country’s CFC importation and consumption has dipped to 169 metric tons last year, from 3,382 metric tons in 1995.
The gradual reduction of CFC importation and consumption in the country since 2000 and its eventual phase-out next year is part of the national CFC phase out plan and the Montreal Protocol.