By Hana Namrouqa – Sep 14,2017

AMMAN — Local companies pioneering in the insulation and cooling industries on Thursday celebrated their shift from using gases that harm the ozone layer to more environment-friendly substances, under an ongoing national project to phase out the use of ozone-depleting substances.

The companies announced that they have completely transitioned from using gases that deplete the ozone layer into substances that are more environment-friendly in their production lines, in a quest to safeguard the environment and adhere to international standards.

In a ceremony organised by the Ministry of Environment on Thursday to mark the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, companies’ representatives said that, while their shift to more environment-friendly gases has helped protect the ozone layer, it has also raised their competiveness in the local and international markets.

Ahmad Arabiyat, representative of the Petra Engineering Industries Company, indicated that the company received a $2-million grant from UNIDO to replace its production lines to become compatible with gases that cause no harm to the ozone layer.

“The company, which exports to 50 markets around the world, phased out its use of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which cause ozone depletion, in 2016,” Arabiyat said at the ceremony.

He noted that, while the company has transitioned to more environment-friendly gases in its productions, it now seeks to shift to the hydrocarbons gases that do not contribute to global warming.

Meanwhile, Manal Abu Haltam, representative of Mohammad Abu Haltam Investments Group, which owns the General Deluxe brand, said that the company has also shifted to the use of ozone-friendly gases in its production.

Abu Haltam noted that that company has received a $1.250-million grant from the Environment Ministry and donor agencies to introduce modifications and new machineries to start using ozone-friendly gases in their production of cooling units.

“The company completely shifted to environment-friendly gases in 2016. Since then, the products have become more efficient and our competitiveness has increased,” Abu Haltam told the audience.

Last year, the ministry received a grant worth $3.5 million from the Montreal Fund to finance the second phase of the national strategy to phase out ozone depleting substances in insulation and cooling industries.

The grant was provided to help in disposing of 50 per cent of environment-harming substances and in developing the Jordanian industry by using eco-friendly technology to improve the competitiveness of the Kingdom’s products at local and international marketplaces.

Also last year, the ministry announced it was working to deliver new technology to companies in the cooling and thermal insulation sector to make their work more environmentally friendly, under a $6 million-initiative to benefit 100 companies operating in the sector.

During the ceremony, Ministry of Environment Secretary General Ahmad Qatarneh and the newly appointed director of the Climate Change Department at the ministry, Dina Kassabi, expressed the ministry’s keenness on continuing working with the private sector.

The ministry’s officials underlined that, with the cooperation of the private sector, the ministry can achieve higher awareness and protection of the Kingdom’s environment, noting that the ministry is willing to support businesses in their move towards eco-friendly solutions.

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 ozone-depleting substances.

In 2014, Jordan received a $2.7 million (JD1.91 million) grant from the Montreal Fund to support phasing out the use of HCFCs.

The Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol is financing the Kingdom’s strategy to get rid of 1,500 tonnes of these chemicals by 2020.

The strategy’s first phase aims at reducing 20 per cent of HCFCs by 2017 by replacing central cooling systems using the substance, banning the import of home appliances that use the harmful mixture of gases and powering air conditioning systems with solar power.

A separate initiative is aimed at building capacities for 200 companies that carry out maintenance work on chillers and cooling systems, in addition to reinforcing the capacities of the Ministry of Environment and government institutions in charge of enforcing regulations, and carrying out programmes that aim at phasing out the use or illegal trade of ozone-depleting substances, according to the ministry.