A $600,000 recycling centre to treat harmful chemicals that can contribute to ozone layer depletion will start functioning soon in Bahrain, it was revealed.
The facility in Tubli, under the Supreme Council for Environment (SCE), is supported by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido).
It is funded from the Multilateral Fund (MLF), the financial aid mechanism set up for developing countries for their projects in line with the Montreal Protocol.
The protocol is a global treaty aimed at protecting the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion.
“We use hydrochloroflourocarbons (HCFCs) and hydroflourocarbons (HFCs) in refrigeration and people are complaining that because we are reducing the import amount of these chemicals (in compliance with the Montreal Protocol), there are concerns that the prices of these chemicals might go up,” SCE chief executive Dr Mohammed Bin Daina told the GDN.
“Additionally, there could also be a shortage of these chemicals in Bahrain.
“Hence, we launched a recycling centre for such chemicals in Bahrain, with the support of Unido and the Multilateral Fund.”
He was speaking on the sidelines of an event marking the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol, at the Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay yesterday.
Organised by the SCE, the occasion also witnessed Bahrain renewing its commitment to the protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer.
Present were Ozone Secretariat executive secretary Dr Tina Birmpili, Labour and Social Development Ministry Under-Secretary Sabah Al Doseri, Education Ministry Under-Secretary Dr Fawzi Al Jowder, Customs Affairs president Shaikh Ahmed Hamad Al Khalifa and representatives from Tamkeen and Unido, among others.
“The new centre will recycle chemicals which, if released into the air, can harm the atmosphere, especially the ozone layer,” said Dr Bin Daina.
“Hence, we have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Education Ministry focused on the training of graduates in the field of air-conditioning.
“It is a $600,000 investment and the factory has been set up in Tubli which will start functioning within two months.”
He noted Bahrain’s challenges in ratifying the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which aims to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases and HFCs. It is legally binding and will come into force from January 1, 2019.
“The challenge we will be facing is that the world is moving fast, from the chemicals that we use in our day-to-day life to new materials.
“These new materials as listed in the Kigali amendment (which Bahrain is yet to ratify) could pose a challenge to countries like ours with high ambient temperatures.”
SCE’s national ozone officer Hasan Mubarak highlighted the progress of Bahrain’s compliance with the Montreal Protocol in 30 years.
“From 1990 when we joined the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol through the Bahrain Ozone Law of 2014 and until the updates in 2015 we have come a long way,” he said.
“About 16,000 metric tonnes of ozone-depleting substances have been controlled since 1995 and around 38,500 kilo tonnes of CO2 equivalent have been eliminated.
“We have had 31 projects funded through MLF since 1998 and we are in full compliance with all the protocol’s control measures.”
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