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Jamaica is currently taking steps to establish a Regional Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Association, in conjunction with Trinidad and Tobago, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Environment, Devon Rowe, has announced.
This initiative builds on several moves which the Government has taken through the National Ozone Unit in the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), to phase out the use of ozone depleting substances, such as Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which under given atmospheric conditions, cause environmental degradation.
Mr. Rowe, who was the main speaker at the opening of the Preparatory Meeting of the English speaking Caribbean Ozone Officers, at the Knutsford Court Hotel today (August 29), said the initiative was in keeping with Jamaica’s vigilant thrust to adhere to international environment protection protocols.
“Jamaica’s refrigeration and air-conditioning industry, through the Jamaica Refrigeration and Ventilation Association (JARVA), has played a crucial role in sensitizing technicians to the need for the adoption of ozone friendly refrigeration practices,” Mr. Rowe said.
The Permanent Secretary pointed out that JARVA was “an active member of the National Ozone Commission, the body which oversees the implementation of the Montreal Protocol in Jamaica”.
In 1993, Jamaica acceded to the ‘Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer’, an international agreement designed to protect the ozone layer and by extension, the physical environment.
The Protocol stipulates that the production and consumption of compounds that deplete ozone in the stratosphere are to be gradually phased out by 2010, and Jamaica has served on the protocol’s Implementation Committee as well as the committee’s Multilateral Fund.
On a note of commendation, Chief Executive Officer of NEPA, Leary Myers said that, “one outstanding achievement by Jamaica is that as of January 1, 2006, CFCs were phased out. This achievement was four years ahead of the Montreal Protocol’s 2010 phase-out date for CFCs”. Mr. Myers said this accomplishment was afforded through Ministerial Orders and the 1999 Trade Act.
Since January 1, Jamaica has ceased to import products such as air condition units and refrigerators that use the chemical substance CFC as a cooling agent.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary commended Jamaica’s Ozone Unit, which in 2003 received an international award for outstanding stewardship during the period 2001-2002, for its continued drive to preserve the natural environment.
Today’s meeting is part of a five-day workshop under the auspices of the Montreal Protocol, jointly organised by the Government of Jamaica, the United Nations Environment Programme’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNEP/ROLAC) and the Caribbean Maritime Institute. The workshop will conclude on September 1.
The workshop is intended to provide world class industry training for refrigeration technicians, and those attending tomorrow’s meeting will be transported to the Caribbean Maritime Institute for practical sessions, led by experts from Venezuela, the United States and Canada.
According to the organising committee of the workshop, Jamaica was “ahead of the region in the phase-out of ozone depleting substances”, and was selected by UNEP/ROLAC to host the workshop because of the lead role taken in the complete phase-out of CFCs.
Representatives from Jamaica, Barbados, Cuba, Haiti, Canada, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, the United States, Suriname, Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela participated in today’s meeting.