The protection of Saint Lucian citizens, visitors and the environment from the harmful effects of toxic Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) continues to receive top priority on the national agenda.
As such the National Ozone Unit in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology is intensifying inspections of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS), refrigerants and their products weekly until the end of the festive season.
These inspections take place at the sea ports of entry where the majority of imported items are processed.
The National Ozone Officer and Sustainable Development and Environment Officer Donnalyn Charles says this is in keeping with Saint Lucia’s international commitments as a signatory to the Montreal Protocol which requires the country takes steps to phase out the importation and use of ozone depleting substances.
“At the core of Saint Lucia’s ODS phase out efforts is the import/export licensing and quota system, which is supported by the Montreal Protocol (Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer) Act No. 10 of 2011 and other regulations. Among other things, the legislation prohibits the importation ODS-based (CFC and HCFC) equipment and restricts the import/export of ODSs/ HCFCs to registered importers. Therefore our inspection of consignments at Customs during the festive season really seeks to enforce the legislation which is important for the protection of our citizens, visitors and the environment.”
Saint Lucia’s successful implementation of the Montreal Protocol and phase out efforts lies within continued collaboration from the Customs and Excise Department, Licensing Department and the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (RAC) sector including registered importers.
These stakeholder agencies have been critical partners of the National Ozone Unit for several years.
The National Ozone Officer explains the decision to conduct weekly inspections arose out of a recent training of Customs Brokers which was highly successful.
“On September 30 and October 1, 2013, with support from the Customs ASYCUDA and Risk Management Unit, training of Customs Broker Agencies in the Classification of Chemicals, ODS, Refrigerants and their Products was held. One key recommendation out of the training was a request for the NOU to conduct regular inspections of consignments at the ports with a view of monitoring the implementation of the legislation, ensuring that any prohibited ODS-based equipment imported are identified and action taken according to the legislation, and inspecting consignments that may contain ODS’s and refrigerants.”
“This is especially of concern to Customs during the Christmas ‘barrel concession’ period and so the National Ozone Unit in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology is pleased to take a lead role in this process which is essentially doing what we committed to do and execute this important recommendation”.
The consignment inspections take place at shed six during the morning period ending at midday every Thursday and Friday until the end of the season.
Additional site inspections will take place when needed.