Gambia: NEA Intensifies Fight Against Ozone Depletion

As the Gambia government is committed to phasing out the importation and consumption of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) as enshrined in the Montreal Protocol and the Vienna Convention, the National Environment Agency (NEA) is continuously intensifying its training for refrigeration technicians across the country as part of efforts in the fight against Ozone depleting.

A regional training that took place recently in Pakalinding in Jarra West District of the Lower River Region, which attracted over 25 participants drawn from the regions, is among series of its kind conducted and organised by the NEA for refrigeration technicians throughout the country.

In his opening remark, the director of Technical Services Network, Alhaji Momodou B. Kanteh, said the Ozone layer is the primary protection the earth has from the harmful ultra-violet radiation from the sun that has adverse effects on human and animal health, marine and terrestrial eco-systems.

Kanteh warned that the continuous emission of Chloro-Fluoro-Carbons (CFCs), Halons and Methyl Bromide would deplete the ozone layer and would result to more severe environmental and health problems. He also told the gathering that the Government of The Gambia, recognising the vulnerability of human kind, Flora and Fauna to ODS, has over the years taken giants steps towards the reduction and ultimate elimination of ODS through a number of measures.

Samba Bajie, NEA's ODS Programme officer, explained that the training aims at strengthening the capacities of refrigeration technicians to enhance detection and retrofitting of ODS.He further explained that ozone layer is a natural gas layer that is providing a protective shield for plant and animal life from the ultra-violet radiation of the sun that can be particularly harmful to all living organisms. According to him, these harmful effects include increase in skin cancer, eye cataracts and blindness; suppression of the human immune system, damage of natural ecosystems and on climate change.

Stressing on The Gambia government's political commitment in phasing-out CFCs, Badjie revealed that the Gambia has joined the international community and ratified the Copenhagen and London Amendments to the Montreal Protocol in 1992 and 1995 respectively. He urged participants to take the training seriously and disseminate their knowledge and skills to others. The Gambia over the years, he said, had taken giant steps towards the reduction and ultimate elimination of ODS through a number of measures including the training of technicians.

Momodou Mendy, senior lecturer at the GTTI, who facilitated the training, noted that by the end of the training participants are expected to clearly understand what ozone and ozone depletion is all about and would understand the reason why they as technicians must join the rest of the world to protect the ozone layer by phasing out CFCs.

Calling on technicians and non-technicians alike to take up this noble profession seriously and adhere to its ethics, Sheikh Alkinky Sanyang, the Environmental Education and Communication Officer at the NEA, appealed to participants to use environmentally-friendly activities and devices to make the planet earth the only suitable and a lasting home for generations not yet born. Sanyang averred that to avoid nature being plunged into conflict with mankind there should be a holistic move against ozone depletion by people from all walks of life.

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