In a statement issued to mark the historic signing of the Montreal Protocol on ODS on September 16, 1987, the EcoWaste Coalition slammed the illicit trade in ODS as a “direct assault” against the fragile ozone layer that serves as a protective shield against the detrimental effects of ultraviolet rays.
“The smuggling of ODS by irresponsible traders is a direct assault against the thinning ozone layer,” Manny Calonzo, President of the EcoWaste Coalition, said, warning that “the destruction of ozone molecules can lead to serious health problems, food and agricultural crisis, and the possible annihilation of certain life forms due to harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun.”
It will be recalled that during the Senate hearings on the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), the EcoWaste Coalition and other environmental groups firmly opposed the inclusion of ODS and other globally banned or restricted hazardous substances and wastes for tariff elimination under the controversial pact.
The ODS being targeted for global phase out include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used as cooling agent for air-conditioners and refrigerators, as propellant for aerosol sprays and as blowing agent for foam, halons in fire extinguishers, methyl bromide in fumigants, and methyl chloroform and carbon tetrachloride in cleaning solvents.
As a signatory to the Montreal Protocol, the Philippines has committed to phasing out CFCs by 2010 and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) by 2040.
The Philippines has accelerated the phase out for methyl bromide by 2009 instead of 2015.
Information gathered from the Philippine Ozone Desk (POD) shows that the country’s consumption of ODS has been steadily decreasing since 1992, enabling the Philippine to impose a total phase out of methyl chloroform in 1997 and certain types of CFCs and halons in 1999.
However, a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released on Earth Day 2008 pointed to the dramatic rise in illegal trade in ODS, particularly the widely-used CFCs, in a number of Asian countries, including the Philippines.
“We recognize and support the sustained efforts by the POD and its partner agencies to comply with our country’s obligations under the Montreal Protocol, including moves to combat dubious shipments of ODS into the Philippines and promote ozone-friendly alternatives,” the EcoWaste.
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