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Ozone Layer Protection Amendment Regulation comes into force on January 1

     A spokesman of the Environmental Protection Department said today (December 4) that the Ozone Layer Protection (Products Containing Scheduled Substances) (Import Banning) (Amendment) Regulation will come into effect from January 1, 2010. The Amendment Regulation enables Hong Kong to comply with the new requirements under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (the Montreal Protocol).

     According to the agreement made under the Meeting of Parties to the Montreal Protocol held in September 2007, parties have to accelerate the phasing out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) - to curtail by 2010 the consumption of HCFCs by 75% of the baseline level instead of 65% and to complete the phasing-out by 2020 instead of 2030.

     The spokesman said the import of products, including air-conditioners containing HCFC-22, would be banned in phases starting from January 1 to meet the accelerated phasing out schedule. The use of existing products would, however, not be affected.

     "The ban will encourage a switch to more environmentally friendly air-conditioners such as those operating with refrigerant R-410A and R-134A, etc., which are readily available in the market,"the spokesman said.

     The Amendment Regulation also extends the prohibition of the import of aerosol products to those containing a pharmaceutical product or medicine as defined in section 2 of the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap 138), such as metered dosed inhalers (MDI) containing chlorofluorocarbons (CFC). In addition, the import of fire extinguishers containing ozone depleting substances including HCFCs and bromochloromethane will also be banned alongside halons that have already been banned. All the affected products have alternatives that do not contain ozone depleting substances

     In addition, the amendment extends the ban on the import of products containing ozone depleting substances to all countries to prevent Hong Kong becoming a dumping ground of these products.  

     Major trade associations, chambers of commerce, professional bodies and other relevant stakeholders have been consulted on the proposed bans. They have no problem complying with the Amendment Regulation.  

     The ban further strengthens Hong Kong's on-going efforts in joining the international community to restore the ozone layer, which is essential for protecting life on earth against harmful ultraviolet radiation.

     The Amendment Regulation was passed by the Legislative Council on December 2, 2009, and published in the Gazette today.

Ends/Friday, December 4, 2009
Issued at HKT 16:19


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