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Customs officials trained in combating illegal trade of ozone depleting substances

Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu

Staff Writer

Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry, Hon Mangaliso Ndlovu, has said the government through his ministry has partnered with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority in equipping customs officials in combating the illegal trade of banned ozone-depleting substances (ODS).

In his speech to commemorate World Ozone Day, Hon Ndlovu said he was grateful for the technical and financial support from organisations like the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Environment Programme.

“Illegal trade in phased out and controlled substances has increased across the globe and Zimbabwe is no exception to these smuggling schemes. My Ministry is working with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) to train customs officers and equip them with tools and skills to combat the illegal trade of banned ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and contaminated refrigerants across the borders.

“Refrigerant analysers were distributed to all major ports of entry to help in the detection of mislabelled or contaminated refrigerants. My Ministry has also supported the training of customs officers through the procurement of training equipment such as laptops and LCD projectors. These will result in effective training that will improve their skills to combat the illegal trade in controlled substances,” he said.

The commemoration came at a time government embarked on the second phase-out stage of hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC).

“This Ozone Day commemoration is being held as my ministry is embarking on the Second Stage Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP). The Second Stage HPMP will enable the country to eliminate the use of HCFCs by the 1st of January 2030 and this will result in more climate benefits as these substances have high Global Warming Potential. The Stage II HPMP will be implemented in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). I greatly appreciate the technical and financial support my Ministry has received from these Implementing Agencies.’

Hon Ndlovu also paid tribute to various stakeholders for carrying out various efforts in preserving the ozone layer and the environment.

” I would like to conclude by thanking all our stakeholders for their continued support in our programmes to eliminate Ozone Depleting Substances and Greenhouses Gases used in refrigeration and air conditioning among other sectors. Through your unwavering support, we will continue to comply with the provisions of the Montreal Protocol and help to protect all forms of life on earth.”

World Ozone Day is commemorated on 16 September of each year after its proclamation by United General Assembly on 22 December 1994.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende