Print Edition - 2017-10-03 | MONEY
Govt to crack down on illegal chemical trade
The guidelines are expected to control illegal imports of such refrigerants and regulate the market for devices that use these chemicals amid a thriving illegal trade
Oct 3, 2017-The Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology (NBSM) has begun work to launch a policy to control trade in chemicals used in refrigeration which are known to cause depletion of the ozone layer.
The guidelines are expected to control illegal imports of such refrigerants and regulate the market for devices that use these chemicals amid a thriving illegal trade.Refrigeration devices used in Nepal mainly use hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), one of the ozone-depleting substances which are responsible for global warming.
Ozone depletion destroys the earth’s natural filter against harmful ultra-violet radiation that leads to an increase in the incidence of cancers.
Based on the Montreal Protocol adopted in 1987, the developed countries agreed to phase out production and consumption of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other substances, while Third World countries were given time to switch to ozone-friendly chemicals.
Nepal has signed an accord to completely ban devices that use CFCs and HCFCs
and introduce hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as a cleaner replacement.
Nepal finished phasing out CFC-using devices in 2010 and has expressed its commitment to phase out HCFC-using devices by 2017.
Although Nepal is in the process of phasing out HCFCs as per the Montreal Protocol, an illegal trade in these chemicals has continued due to lack of relevant laws.
Since Nepal phased out CFCs in 2010, unscrupulous traders have been using Nepal as a trans-shipment point to smuggle these chemicals into India. Authorities have repeatedly confiscated large quantities of contraband HCFCs, as per the NBSM.
NBSM Director General Bishwo Babu Pudasaini said they had started work to introduce a relevant policy to ban devices using HCFCs. “The policy will be targeted at the safety measures and efficiency of the devices, particularly air conditioners and refrigerators,” he said.
According to the NBSM, a number of traders are still importing HCFCs to restore old refrigeration devices for resale in the domestic market.
“Lack of public awareness has also created problems in controlling the trade in harmful chemicals,” said Pudasaini, adding that the NBSM would be setting up a separate cell at customs points to check the illegal import of these chemicals in coordination with the Ministry of Environment.
As per the Montreal Protocol, Nepal can use refrigeration devices based on HFCs from 2018. However, it will have to completely replace them too by 2030. “As per the accord, signatory countries are required to replace HFC-using appliances by equipment using natural gas within that time,” Pudasaini said.
Published: 03-10-2017 08:34