Why do we need the Ozone Layer?
Do you know that the ozone layer is a thin layer high in the atmosphere preventing the harmful rays of the sun from reaching the earth?
Because this layer has been damaged over the past 50 years, the harmfull rays of the sun can now reach us and can cause health problems including skin cancer, eye cataracts and affect our immune system.
Hence it is of utmost importance to protect the ozone layer.
Many ordinary commodities that industries produce and households consume (fx. refrigerators) contain ozone depleting substances like:
To address and combat the problem arising from the substances, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplet the Ozone Layer was established. Under the Montreal protocol, countries which are party must control the production and consuption of Ozone-Depleting Substances(ODS). All parties are also expected to phase out all substances depleting the ozone layer.
Swaziland ratified the Montreal Protocol in 1992. For Swazilands implementation of the Protocol, funding is fully obtained from UNEP. The country has formulated regulations as a way of implementing some parts of the Protocol -specifically Art 4 (b) of the Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.The Protocol through the Refrigerant Management Plan tries to phase out refrigerants, hence the Regulations also try to address this under the Second Schedule of the 2003 Ozone Depleting Substances Regulations, which have been recently gazetted. The Regulations entail a licensing system on the import and export of ozone depleting substances as a means of regulating the transfer of such substances which can leave the country with adverse impacts. This will in turn help the SEA to improve its monitoring exercises to end users of these substances.
The Department of Customs and Excise play an important role in determining the end users of these for ease of monitoring by the Authority. Through training sessions awareness has been raised on the existence of the draft Regulations and its aims. The department has also been taught the methods of data collection to be produced on SEA’s demand. This is because these are based at the entry points of the country and has been targeted to obtained good data for the ozone unit.
The regulations are already in use as the Customs Department liases with the Authority’s Ozone Unit constantly. The Authority has now started to design the permit to be issued, which will also have a bearing on the SEA parent law.