Permanent Secretary No.1 at the Office of the President has said that the gases that are mainly used in air conditioning systems do not only deplete the Ozone Layer but contribute to the warming of the earth.
Madi Jatta, who was deputising for the secretary general and minister of Presidential Affairs, made this statement on Tuesday during the celebration of World Ozone Day at the National Environment Agency (NEA) head office along Jimpex Road, Kanifing.
He said as one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change, people in The Gambia are already experiencing more torrential rains, flood, intensive windstorms mixed with intermittent droughts and excessive heat particularly during summer. Therefore, he said, protecting the atmosphere for the present and future generations should be an obligation to all and sundry.
PS Jatta added: "The atmosphere does not only house the oxygen and carbon dioxide that ensures our continuous survival on earth but also a very important natural resource known as the ozone layer. This is a thin layer of ozone gas found in the lower and upper atmosphere encircling planet earth."
He noted that the ozone layer protects life on earth from the harmful ultraviolet B radiation. "So it is important to note that some refrigerants used in the domestic air conditioning systems, in cars, hotel chillers, fish processing factories and in the house appliances like refrigerators among others, are responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer," he added.
Jatta noted that with the signing into law of the Ozone Depleting Substances Regulations by President Jammeh in his capacity as the chairman of the National Environment Management Council, The Gambia has registered significant strides in the phasing out of Ozone Depleting Substances (CFCs), from the country since 31st December 2009.
He said as part of the achievement, the Ozone Unit of the National Environment Agency has facilitated the formation of seven Regional Refrigeration Technicians Associations and trained over 240 refrigeration technicians on the proper handling of refrigerants. "Taking into consideration the safety precautions that should be observed in their workshops, the NEA has also distributed refrigerant testers to all major custom border posts across the country," he further stated.
Jatta finally stressed that in order to ensure the protection and preservation of the environment for the yet to be born generation, everyone should plant more trees, use ozone-friendly refrigerants and educate each other on the dangers associated with the use of Ozone Depleting Substances and atmospheric pollutants.