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Director of the Computing and Engineering Entrepreneurial Centre (CEEC) at the University of Technology (UTech), Owen Gunning, has suggested that the Government impose a heavy tax on the importation of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) into the island.
He said such a move could help to reduce Jamaica’s emission of ozone depleting substances and bring the country closer to meeting its obligations under the Montreal Protocol.
He also proposed that legislation be passed to ban the importation and use of CFC gases and to require refrigeration technicians to be certified. “We also believe the Government could provide some kind of grant to certify and license technicians to purchase recovery machines,” he added.
Mr. Gunning was speaking at a ceremony today (March 25) at the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) office on Lady Musgrave Road in Kingston, where the international organisation handed over 10 CFC recovery cylinders and five CFC recovery machines, valued at approximately US$15,000, to the CEEC.
He thanked the UNDP for the equipment, noting that they will enhance the centre’s ability to train refrigeration technicians and engineers in the proper techniques to recover gases, which could harm the environment.
The CEEC Director shared that on a recent trip to Alaska in the United States of America, he experienced firsthand, the need to protect the ozone layer. “For the first time, I saw the glaciers melting and falling off into the sea and I hadn’t thought about it before, but then it became real. (You) see bears coming out of their natural habitat searching for food because of the climate change,” he related.
The gift of the recovery machines is part of the UNDP’s implementation of its Terminal Phase Out Management Plan in Jamaica, which began in 2002, with start-up funds of US$140,000. The project was implemented through the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).
Project Manager, Sheries Simpson, said that the basic objective of the project is to “have a retrofitting and replacement incentive programme for end users of CFCs in Jamaica. The main objective was to phase out the CFCs within three and a half years.”
She added that customs officers also received training in recognising CFC products and that as a result, Jamaica has not imported any new CFCs since 2006.
Meanwhile, Administrative and Fund Management Officer at the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Regional Co-ordinating Unit, Kumiko Yatagai, stated that the Jamaican Government has taken the lead in meeting emission targets and implementing environmental programmes in the Latin American and Caribbean Region.
She said it was through the Government’s co-operation that the Terminal Phase Out Management Plan received UNEP’s Montreal Protocol Exemplary Project Recognition.

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