New Delhi: Marking the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, the Ministry of Environment has announced a research and development initiative to reduce the impact of refrigerants on the ozone layer.
This new initiative is a collective work of Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (CAOS), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Department of Science and Technology (DST) among others.
The Ozone Cell of the Environment Ministry has celebrated this day by awarding young schoolchildren for participating and winning in painting, poster-making and slogan writing competitions organized by the ministry.
The International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is celebrated every year on September 16 to commemorate the day when several nations signed the Montreal Protocol, agreeing on the substances that deplete the ozone layer from the atmosphere and trying to banish them.
On this occasion, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change released a report 'The Montreal Protocol: India's Success Story', detailing the Indian endeavours in phasing out harmful CFC (Chlorofluorocarbons), used in electrical appliances.
"CFC has been replaced by HFC (Hydrocflourocarbon) completely. We have stopped using harmful gases... according to estimates we will have completely done away with HCFCs (Hydrochloroflourocarbon, an alternative of CFC) too, by the year 2025," said Ajay Mathur, Director-General, TERI (The Energy and Research Institute), who was present at the event as a chief guest.
"HFCs are good in that they don't contribute to ozone depletion, but they emit greenhouse gases, causing an increase in global warming. This increase will have a global impact, including India where floods and droughts will become more frequent, according to experts," he added.
CFC, HCFC and HFC are all compounds of gases used in refrigerants, coolants, solvents, contact lenses and foam industry among others -- the former two contain chlorine and flourine, two chemicals which are the major cause of ozone depletion, while HFC, though causing no harm to the ozone layer, contributes to global warming.
Mathur told IANS that there were other chemical compounds which are better alternatives to HFCs and HCFCs.
"The representatives of Indian government will discuss the possibilities of better, less polluting alternatives to what are available now during the meeting on Montreal Protocol in Kigali, Rwanda, next month. There are two chemicals so far, HFO (Hydrofluoroolefin) and propane, which have proven to be better replacements of other three," he told IANS.
He also praised corporates for doing their bit in restoring ozone levels in the atmosphere.
"The multilateral fund which our country has received has been very efficiently used, which was mostly spent on technology building. Our corporates too have used the funds very competently, adding 40 per cent from their pocket, of the total spent in technology building... Godrej has just started using propane as refrigerant... which is more ozone-friendly," he told IANS.
The event was also attended by M.K. Singh, Joint Secretary in the Environment Ministry.
(With IANS inputs)