India has completed one of the most arduous tasks of phasing out Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-141 b, one of the most potent Greenhouse gases depleting the ozone layer.
- HCFC are compounds containing Hydrogen, Chlorine, Fluorine, and Carbon used for refrigeration, aerosol propellants, foam manufacture, and air conditioning.
- They are not found to occur naturally and are entirely human-made.
- The production and consumption of HCFCs took off after the Montreal Protocol ensured a gradual phase-out of Chlorofluorocarbons.
- HCFCs have a much lower GWP of 76-2270 as compared to CFCs which have a GWP of 4680-10720.
- India is a signatory to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, 1987 which, inter alia, envisaged complete phase-out of HCFCs by 2030 under the Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP).
Status in India
- The foam manufacturing sector is the most significant consumer of HCFCs, which accounts for nearly 50% of all Ozone-depleting Substance consumption in India.
- All of HCFC use in India was attributed to imports with no active domestic production.
- In compliance with the HPMP( Montreal Protocol), under the Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Amendment Rules, 2014, its use by the foam industry has been banned. Under the 2019 Rules, the import of HCFC 141-b has also been completely done away with from January 1, 2020.
- Two significant environmental impacts of this achievement are
- Healing of the Ozone Layer
- Mitigation of climate change due to the transitioning of foam manufacturing enterprises at this scale to low global warming potential alternative technologies.
- India has become one of the first among Article 5 Parties (Developing Countries) under the Montreal Protocol to achieve this feat.
- It reinforces India’s credentials as a responsible nation in tackling Ozone Layer depletion.