DENR celebrates September as Ozone Month, steps up fight against global warming

Press release prepared by the Public Affairs Office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is gearing up for the national celebration of Ozone Month this September, stepping up the drive against substances that harm the ozone layer and lead to global warming.

Celebrations will kick off tomorrow (Sept.1) with Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje leading officials of the DENR and other partner agencies in having their service vehicles’ mobile air conditioners (MAC) tested for ozone- and climate-friendliness. The refrigerant testing will be conducted by the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) at the DENR compound in Quezon City.

Paje said that the DENR and the government as a whole should always take the lead in implementing environmental laws, especially against pollution. “Fighting air pollution will simultaneously improve our people’s health and reduce global warming,” he said. “Let us show to the world how Filipinos are taking concrete steps to address the issues of global warming and climate change.”

The DENR is also inviting the public to have their own vehicles’ MACs tested for free at the DENR grounds on September 1, or during the simultaneous nationwide roadside MAC testing on September 16.

As signatory to the Kyoto and Montreal Protocols, international treaties which both aim to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere to reduce global warming, the Philippine government has required owners of vehicles with models prior to 1999 to use environment-friendly refrigerants in their MACs before renewing their annual registration.

According to EMB Director Juan Miguel Cuna, MAC servicing is the largest consumer of chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs, a GHG believed to be harmful to the ozone layer. “MAC servicing consumes as much as 933 tons of ozone depleting potential or ODP tons. Using ozone-friendly MACs will definitely reduce the amount of CFC released into the atmosphere,” he said.

The EMB’s Philippine Ozone Desk will also sign on the same day a Memorandum of Agreement with the Philippine Postal Corporation for the printing of commemorative stamps depicting the 25th anniversary of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. Around 49,000 stamps are set to be issued in the 4th quarter of this year.

On September 13, the DENR will sign a contract with Delsa Chemicals and Multi-Products, Inc. as the former launches the “Collection, Transport and Storage of Recovered Refrigerants from Service Shop Voucher Grantees and Chiller Owners under the National CFC Phase-out Plan (NCPP) Project.”

Under the contract, Delsa Chemicals will undertake the collection, transport and storage of refrigerants recovered from recovery machines provided in 2007 by the NCPP’s voucher system to over 2,500 service shops.

With the celebration of International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer on September 16, an Annual Forum on the Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) Phase-out Program will gather representatives of partner agencies, dealers and importers to discuss the status of ODS in the country. This year’s theme is “Ozone Layer Protection: Governance and Compliance at their Best.”

The year 2010 is also the 23rd Anniversary of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, where the Philippines is one of 188 signatory-members. The Montreal Protocol has been recognized around the world as the most effective multilateral environmental treaty ever implemented, and the country’s being a member is proof of our commitment to reduce global warming.

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