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Current Affairs

India phases out ozone depleting HCFC-141b

Date: 23 January 2020 Tags: Climate Change

Issue

India has successfully completed the phasing out of Hydro chloro fluoro carbon (HCFC)-141b, used by foam manufacturing companies and one of the most potent ozone-depleting chemicals.

 

Background

Ozone occurs naturally in small amounts in the upper atmosphere of the earth. It protects life on earth from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. But its presence on ground creates many health problems.

 

Details

  • HCFC-141b is not produced in India and all the domestic requirements are met through imports. With the notification prohibiting the import of HCFC-141b, India has completely phased out the important ozone depleting chemical.

  • Simultaneously, the use of HCFC-141b by foam manufacturing industry has also been closed as on January 1 under the Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Amendment Rules, 2014.

  • The phase out of HCFC-141b from the country has twin environmental benefits, one is assisting the healing of the stratospheric ozone layer and the second is climate change mitigation due to transition of foam manufacturing enterprises at large scale to low global warming potential alternative technologies.

  • Most of the companies that are manufacturing foam in India are micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and belong to informal sector.

HCFC-141b

  • Hydrochlorofluorocarbon-141b, or 1,1-dichloro-1-fluoroethane (HCFC141b), has been developed as a replacement for fully halogenated chlorofluorocarbons because its residence time in the atmosphere is shorter, and its ozone depleting potential is lower than that of presently used chlorofluorocarbons.

  • HCFC-141b is used in the production of rigid polyurethane and polyisocyanurate or phenolic insulation foams for residential and commercial buildings. It may also be used as a solvent in electronic and other precision cleaning applications.

  • HCFCs are ozone-depleting substances and are to be phased out under the Montreal Protocol by 2020 in the developed world and 2040 elsewhere.