Nema Trains URA, UNBS, Police in Ozone Depleting Substances
The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)’s Regional Office for Africa, has been conducting a training workshop for Customs Officers in matters pertaining to identification, monitoring and curbing illegal trade in Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) under the Montreal Protocol.
The three day training, a third in a series under the Montreal Protocol, involved compliance and enforcement arm of Government agencies, notably, Customs Department of Uganda Revenue Authority, Uganda National Bureau of Standards, Uganda Police Force, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, and the Ministry of Trade and Cooperatives.
The ozone layer is a region of Earth's stratosphere (about 11Kms - 48Kms off the Earth’s surface) with high concentrations of ozone (O3) that absorbs most of the Sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was designed to reduce the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances in order to reduce their abundance in the atmosphere, and thereby protect the earth’s fragile ozone Layer.
NEMA’s Deputy Executive Director, Ms. Christine Echookit Akello, in her opening remarks, reminded the participants that environment management was a collective responsibility and challenged the participating institutions to play their part in enforcing the regulations on Ozone depleting substances. Other facilitators were Patrick Odara Salifu from UNEP’s OzonAction Compliance Assistance Programme and Margaret Aanyu, the Uganda Ozone Desk Coordinator.
The Vienna Convention on Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, came into place in 1988 and in the same year Uganda ratified both treaties.
Government of Uganda has since then endeavoured to implement this Protocol by placing enabling frameworks for maintaining compliance with the Montreal Protocol including the implementing the National Environment (Management of Ozone Depleting Substances) Regulations, 2001, banning the use of second-hand refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC) equipment and monitoring and controlling trade in/importation of refrigerants and RAC equipment. Government through the Ozone Desk at NEMA has been creating awareness among the consumers, importers, and regulating agencies about the Montreal Protocol.