Chemicals that harm ozone layer to be banned

By Khonesavanh Latsaphao
Febuary 09, 2011

Climate change in Laos is leading to more severe storms which cause dangerous flooding.

Laos will this year start to reduce the use of chemicals that damage the ozone layer, it was announced at a meeting on chemical management planning held in Vientiane yesterday.

The plan will be put into action from 2011 until the end of 2020, said Director of the National Secretariat of the Greater Mekong Subregion, National Water Resources and Environment Authority, Ms Keobang A Keola.

“We will start to implement it after the Hydrochlorofluorocarbons or HCFCs phase-out management plan is finished,” she said.

HCFCs are the chemicals used in air-conditioning units, refrigerators, and ice-making machines.

Unfortunately, air-con-ditioners are widely used in Laos because of the high temperatures here, and are to be found in vehicles, homes, hotels, guesthouses, and office buildings.

Ms Keobang A said thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide released into the Earth’s atmosphere are causing temperatures to rise around the world, but this situation can be reversed if the use of HCFCs is controlled.

Proposed activities under the HCFCs phase-out management plan will see Laos rolling out the scheme by 2013, achieve a 10 percent reduction of HCFC usage in 2015, and a 35 percent reduction in 2020.

Laos is a party to the Montreal Protocol, after acceding to the Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol on August 21, 1998.

Laos also acceded to the London, Copenhagen, Montreal and Beijing Amendments on June 28, 2006. The objective of the HCFCs phase-out management plan reflects the commitment of Laos to its obligation as a party to the Montreal Protocol having in mind the socio-economic needs of the country.

However, this work is a challenge for Laos, because the country is developing and more and more air-conditioners are being imported.

According to a 2009 survey, the amount of HCFCs imported into Laos was higher than previously.

Laos uses HCFCs only in the installation and servicing of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment.

Due to rapid economic growth in the past few years, the number of buildings has increased substantially with most using air-conditioning.

Laos is located in the centre of the Southeast Asian peninsula. It lies between latitudes of 14 to 23 degrees North and longitudes of 100 to 108 degrees East.

Stretching north to south over 1,400km, Laos shares borders with Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand.

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