Nigeria to develop safe disposal of Ozone layer

By Nkechinyere Itodo, Abuja

The need to amend the National Environment Ozone Layer Protection Regulations of 2009 in Nigeria has become imminent.

The Director-General, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Agency, NESREA, Dr. Lawrence Anukam says the Nigerian government is partnering with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization UNIDO, to develop an effective standard for the safe disposal of Ozone Depleting Substances in the country.

Dr Anukam said some major gaps have been identified in the provisions of the National Environment Ozone Layer Protection Regulations of 2009 to control the use of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) in Nigeria.

He was speaking in Abuja, at the ongoing two-day workshop on Expert Review of the Draft Amended National Environmental Ozone Layer Protection Regulations, 2009.

Some of these major gaps include; the omission of best practices for safe disposal, guidelines for ODS destruction, among others.

Dr. Anumka said that as a signatory to the Montreal Protocol under which substances that deplete the ozone layer were addressed, Nigeria established the 2009 regulations to check their uses.

Environment and climate change
He was of the view that as Nigeria tends towards the diversification of economy through industrialisation, it cannot be a spectator in global trends on environment and climate change.

Globally, the adverse effects of ODS have increasingly become a critical issue as a result of the several pollutants which attack the ozone layer. Chief among these pollutants is in the class of chemicals notably known as Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), used as refrigerants and as propellants in spray cans,he stressed.

As the ozone layer plays major role in the protection of life on earth by acting as a blanket that prevent harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation of the sun reaching the earth, these pollutants, if not checked, would deplete the ozone layer.

It will also usher in more UV rays upon the earth and consequently, exposure to these rays could have serious impacts on human health and the environment.

Dr. Anumka told participants that the outcome of the expert meeting would help in the fulfilment of government’s obligations in the ODS phase-out regime geared towards eliminating the use of critical ODS for the protection of the environment and human health.

The UNIDO Country Representative and Regional Director for ECOWAS, Dr. Chuma Ezedimma says the United Nations promotes an inclusive and sustainable industrialisation in developing countries and economies in transition.

Dr. Ezedimma explained that as nations across the world were already evolving with measures to protect the environment and as a partner on Montreal Protocol, it was important for Nigeria to reflect on its laws and disposal of ODS waste.

According to him, it is also important for Nigeria to begin the adoption and implementation of the extended producer responsibility initiative to ensure that manufacturers take the responsibility for the entire life circle of their products.

This, he urged, should apply to refrigeration, air-conditioning and insulation products. With that in hand, Nigeria would be sure to boost energy conservation and eventually the sustainability of the environment.

“Disposal of unwanted ODS has already been initiated in Nigeria through the Demonstration Project for Disposal of Ozone Depleting Substances which began implementation in November, 2013 after the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol approved some funding with the objective of aggregating and disposing 84MT of CFC-12, already identified with companies and chillers. This is to promote a model to manage ODS in Africa and also showcase how ODS disposal can promote other environmental and climate change issues, like Energy Efficiency, Carbon Market Co-financing, among others,”  Dr. Ezedimma added.

The two day workshop is organised by the Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in Abuja.

Mercy Chukwudiebere