Cook Islands on track to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals

The challenges for countries in Asia and the Pacific of phasing out harmful hydrofluorocarbons (HCFCs) were a key focus when National Ozone Officers from 26 countries met recently in Thailand.
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HCFCs are harmful chemical compounds used in cooling appliances such as refrigeration, air conditioning and water coolers. They destroy the Earth’s protective ozone layer. Under two international agreements – the Montreal Protocol and the Vienna Convention – many countries, including the Cook Islands, have agreed to ban ozone depleting substances entering their countries.  

NES’s Senior Environmental Partnerships Coordinator, Ms Mii Herman, took part in the meeting and reported that the Cook Islands is currently on track with phasing out HCFCs. She says the Cook Islands has taken extra steps in banning HCFC gases and HCFC-based equipment from entering the islands.

Participants at the meeting of National Ozone Officers in Thailand.

“The July meeting was a great opportunity to share knowledge and best practice to deliver on our commitments under the Montreal Protocol,” she says.

In September, NES will be conducting training on good practices in refrigeration and air conditioning for technicians on Rarotonga and Aitutaki.

There are also plans for capacity building for Customs officers, customs brokers and importers about the licensing permit system for hydrofluorocarbons. Public awareness materials will also be developed.

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The National Environment Service is established to protect, conserve and ensure the Cook Islands environment is managed sustainably. The agency is headed by a Director with delegated powers to carry out the functions of the Environment Act 2003.

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