As the Fijian Government works on phasing on ozone depleting substances (ODS), prohibited goods are still being exported by some developed and developing countries.
Acting Minster for Waterways and Environment, Ashneel Sudhakar said these include banned refrigerants, with an increase in companies and individuals bringing equipment containing ODS without proper permits from the Department of Environment.
“Over the years, the Department has been enforcing our ODS related laws,” he reminded customs and shipping agents at an ODS training workshop in Nadi.
He said the Department is trying to address goods being declared as “personal item effects” and quality of goods.
“There has been an increase in the cheap poor-quality equipment such as air-conditioning and refrigerator units entering Fiji. Unscrupulous operators such as companies / individuals who are not authorized by the Department bring in refrigerants and refrigerant-based equipment. These goods are normally declared as personal item effects and are later mostly traded for commercial gains by backyard operators rather than being privately used.”
Fiji ratified the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in 1989. The country’s most commonly imported ODS include hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which was given a freeze date of 2013 and phase out date by 2030.