The Air Pollution Control Treaty, signed on September 16, 1987 in Montreal, Canada, came into force in January 1989, and was amended in 2016 in Kigali. The revised agreement, which came into force in 2019, is an international one aimed at eliminating air pollution by 80% over the next 30 years.
Martine Uwera, the National Focal Point of Montreal Protocol said that Rwanda has reduced the importation of chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) from 4.1 tonnes in 2010 to 1.89 tonnes currently.
“We have reduced ozone depleting substances by 54 per cent and there is still a gap of 2.21 tonnes which we seek to phase out by 2030,” she said.
Uwera said the effects of sunlight damage include skin cancer, DNA damage and more.
Rwanda has also taken steps to control modern equipment such as refrigerators and air conditioners that can release air pollutants.
“Currently new appliances such as fridges that use ozone depleting substances are not allowed to be imported. Those caught are arrested and are ordered to return such equipment to their country of origin or take them for recycling. We are only coping with imported gases that are not environmentally friendly,” she said adding
there are mechanisms to control illicit trade in ozone depleting substances.
Patrick Karera, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment said that Rwanda has also adopted a National Cooling Strategy, which is one of the results of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to help phase out the gases.
Rwanda needs at least Rwf20 billion to encourage uptake of energy efficiency and climate friendly cooling solutions in the country as part of its obligation under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
“It is admirable that the Kigali Amendment has exceeded 100 ratifications. Without decisive and global action, emissions from the cooling sector are set to grow 90 per cent by 2050,” he said.
He said that the National Cooling Strategy approved by the cabinet in 2019 will help to roll out standards for cooling technologies.
“We are working with Rwanda Green Fund, Rwanda Business Development Fund, and UN Environment’ united for Efficiency initiative and Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy to ensure the success of financial mechanisms for climate-friendly cooling solutions,” he added.