Brunei-Muara - Brunei Darussalam is in compliance with the international agreement to lower the use of chemicals that are harmful to the ozone layer, said the Director of Environment, Parks and Recreation of the Ministry of Development.
According to Hj Zakaria Hj Saruddin, the Sultanate has managed to decrease the Volume of imported ozone depleting substances (ODS) from 39.12 kilometric ton in 2005 to 26.5 kilometric ton in 2006, which is by far under the 39.12 kilometric ton set by the Montreal Protocol in 2005 and 2006 respectively.
Speaking, during the officiating of a training programme for customs officers on monitoring and control of ODS yesterday, Hj Zakaria said Brunei Darussalam initially involved with efforts to save the environment when it became one of the 191 members of the Montreal Protocol in August 1993.
Some 40 custom officers along with several officials from the Ministry of Education and Land Transport Department are attending the threeday programme. The programme is conducted by a representative from the United Nations Environment Programme, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (UNEP ROAP), Liu Ning, and a Custom Officer from the Malaysian Customs Department, Mohammad Jazam Mohammad Yassin.
According to the UNEP ROAP`s representative, illegal international trade in environmentally-sensitive commodities such as ozone depleting substances, toxic chemicals, hazardous wastes, and endangered species is an international problem with serious consequences.
"Many international treaties have been created in an effort to address pressing environmental issues," he said.
Previously, the most well known environmental problem was the issue of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and the ozone layer which has since been under control, due to the Montreal` Protocol.
He went on to say that CFC`s are chemical compounds developed as replacements for toxic refrigerants as the CFC, once released into the atmosphere will move its way to the stratosphere where they will eventually sap the ozone layer that is supposed to protect life on earth from harmful solar ultraviolet radiation.
So far, local and international crime syndicates worldwide earn an estimated US$22-31 billion annually from hazardous waste dumping, smuggling proscribed hazardous materials; and exploiting and trafficking protected natural resources.
The training is conducted by the Department of Environment; Parks as part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in April 2007 between Brunei and UNEP ROAP to control, reduce and monitor the import and export of ODS.
The programme is expected to be implemented in two phases. The first phase will involve the training of 20 custom officers, including some senior officer, as instructors by UNEP ROAP international consultant, while the second phase will see these trainers coaching the rest of the programme`s participants.
The workshop is being held at the Training Centre at the Ministry of Development.
Source: www.brudirect.com (19 Juli 2007)