Today, Monday, September 16 is celebrated globally as “World Ozone Day”.
The date has been celebrated since 1994, and was established by the United Nations General Assembly to mark the day when the “Montreal Protocol” was signed in 1987.
The implementation has led to the phase-out of 99 percent of ozone depleting chemicals in refrigerators, air- conditioners and many other products.
The day is celebrated mainly to spread awareness of the depletion of the Ozone Layer, and search for solutions to preserve it.
Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Waterways and Environment, Joshua Wycliffe says the success of the Montreal Protocol has been through the unprecedented level of cooperation and commitment by the international communities, industrialists, economists, environmentalists and policy makers.
With the theme “32 years and healing”, Wycliffe says Fiji is reaching its targets, however there is still more to be done locally and internationally.
The Department of Environment has continued to work with the Refrigeration and Air- conditioning (RAC) industries and recently the Fisheries sector through trainings, awareness workshop and equipment incentive programmes that will assist the industry in reclaiming, recovering and recycling ozone depleting substances.
“Enforcement agencies like the Fiji Revenue & Customs Services have continued to support and work with my ministry in ensuring that border control is maintained and illegal trade of ODS is minimised and prevented.”
He said Fiji is on track with it’s greenhouse gas emissions target of 30 percent reduction by 2030 and beyond, and is optimistic that future targets can be achieved as well.
“The challenge for Fiji is transition of technologies that are feasible however alternatives that are ozone friendly, energy efficient and have low global warming potential has been adopted.”
More than 100 people from various agencies including academics and representatives from the refrigerator and air conditioning industry were present for the celebration.