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Public to avoid using products with ozone-depleting substances

QUEZON CITY, Sept. 21 (PIA)--The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is urging the public to avoid using products with ozone-depleting substances (ODS) to help protect the ozone layer.

Examples of ODS are chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform, methyl bromide, and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).

These chemicals are commonly found in aerosol products, foams and fire extinguishers, and are used as refrigerants and in air-conditioning and cooling equipment.

Assistant Secretary Juan Miguel Cuna, and concurrent head of DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau, explained that under the Montreal Protocol, parties commit to phase out ODS according to specific time schedules.

As a result, the parties – including the Philippines – have so far collectively phased out 98 percent of the ODS except HCFCs, which are the remaining ODS group that is being eliminated, Cuna added.

According to a 2014 study commissioned by the United Nations, the ozone layer is showing early signs of thickening after years of depletion and that the ozone hole appearing annually over Antartica had also stopped growing bigger every year.

UN scientists claimed the recovery was entirely due to political determination to phase out the man-made greenhouse gases destroying the ozone.

Cuna said that the recovering ozone layer still needs protection especially amid concerns about the potential alternatives to HCFCs.

He said the most common alternatives to HCFCs are hydroflourocarbons or HFCs that have been determined to be potent greenhouse gases.

“The parties to the Montreal Protocol are presently cooperating with experts, industry and other sectors to evaluate these alternatives and identify those that would have the most climate benefits and the least toxicity and flammability characteristics for adoption by industry and other end-users,” Cuna explained. (DENR/RJB/SDL/PIA-NCR)

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