The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently held a one day workshop for customs officers in Ganta, Nimba County on chemical substances that are harmful to the environment, with specific emphasis on detection and disposal of Ozone Depleting Substances.
Sete F. Marshall, Ozone Officer at the EPA, told the participants that the depletion of the ozone layer has increased the intensity of the sun’s rays, resulting in eye problems and skin cancer.
Marshall, who spoke on the topic “Combating illegal trade in ozone depleting substances (the harmonized system)” told participants that 80 percent of cataracts (clouding of the eye’s natural lens) results from the sun’s rays, due to the depletion of the ozone layer.
He said most of the gases used to repair refrigerators and air conditioners are partly responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer because of the chemical substances in them.
He named some of the gases as HFCs, which include R122, R123, R124, R401A to R409A, while others include HFCs, R23, R134a, and R5088.
Marshall said most of these substances are imported into the country by local vendors using “the small border post,” adding that they are training customs officers and other security personnel assigned at the borders to be aware of and seize any of the listed items.
The training workshop covered: ‘Ozone layer depletion – the way forward’; ‘The Environmental Protection Agency; ‘Ozone substance smuggling methods’; ‘Inspection of goods’; ‘Checking of documentation’; ‘Combating the illegal trade in ozone-depleting substances (ODS)’; and ‘Practical ODS detection using the analyzer.’
The EPA through the National Ozone Unit has urged customs workers and other security personnel to inspect canisters that are brought into the country and ensure that importers show a clearance from the EPA.
The workshop was held under the theme, ‘Monitoring and seizing of ozone-depleting substances at the ports of entry.’