By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – Jordan received a $2.16 million grant from the Montreal Fund on Sunday to support the disposal of ozone-layer depleting chemicals used in cooling systems, officials said yesterday.

The Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol is financing the Kingdom’s strategy to get rid of 1,500 tonnes of chemical materials by the year 2020, Ozone Project Director at the Ministry of Environment Ghazi Odat said.

Jordan is a signatory to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of a number of substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion.

As part of the strategy, the production of air conditioners and central cooling systems manufactured by Petra Engineering Industries Company will be replaced with environment-friendly materials and technologies, Odat told The Jordan Times yesterday.

The Montreal Fund executive committee approved the grant last month, making Jordan the first country in the region to introduce environment-friendly practices and materials in the production of cooling devices and systems, he said.

Odat noted that the project started last month and will be completed within the next two years, highlighting that if it proves successful, the initiative will be later implemented at the regional level.

With the grant, and in accordance with an agreement with the ministry, Petra Engineering Industries Company will phase out harmful gases in the production process by introducing environment-friendly refrigerant gases such as hydrofluorocarbon (HFC)-410A, HFC-407C, HFC-134A, according to Vice Chairman Omar Abu Weshah.

“We want to be pioneers in preserving Jordan’s environment and also internationally, so we are switching to new refrigeration gases,” he said in a statement to The Jordan Times, noting that the firm exports its products to 45 countries.

He indicated that 95 per cent of companies in the cooling industry in Jordan use harmful chlorofluorocarbons.

With 75 per cent of refrigerants being released into the atmosphere and causing depletion of the ozone layer, environmentalists and researchers call for strengthening laws that govern the import, export and use of ozone-depleting chemicals.

Scientists estimate that a 1 per cent decrease in the ozone layer`s thickness would lead to a 1.3 per cent increase in the volume of ultraviolet rays reaching the Earth, an increase which they say poses serious consequences for human beings, fauna and flora.