Complete Phase Out of Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-141 b

Complete phase out of Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-141 b

Context: India has successfully achieved the complete phase out of Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-141 b (the most potent ozone depleting chemical after CFCs). 

HCFCs; INDIATHINKERS

What is HCFC – 141b? Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) -141b  is a chemical used by foam manufacturing enterprises and is considered as one of the most potent ozone depleting chemical after Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). (HCFC)-141 b is used mainly as a blowing agent in the production of rigid polyurethane (PU) foams. HCFC-141b is not produced in the country and all the domestic requirements are met through imports. With this notification, prohibiting the import of HCFC-141 b, the country has completely phased out the important ozone depleting chemical.  Nearly, 50 % of the consumption of ozone depleting chemicals in the country was attributable to HCFC-141 b in the foam sector.  What are the Government Regulations regarding this? On 31 December, 2019, as part of the Government’s commitment for moving towards environment friendly technologies, in a significant first, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) brought out a notification in the Gazette of India through which the issuance of import license for HCFC-141b is prohibited from 1st January, 2020 under Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Amendment Rules, 2019 issued under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Simultaneously, the use of HCFC-141 b by foam manufacturing industry has also been closed as on 1st January, 2020 under the Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Amendment Rules, 2014. The Ministry adopted a structured approach to engage with foam manufacturing enterprises for providing technical and financial assistance in order to transition to non-ODS and low GWP technologies under HCFC Phase out Management Plan (HPMP). Around 175 foam manufacturing enterprises have been covered under HPMP out of which, 163 enterprises are covered under stage II of HPMP.  The complete phase out of HCFC 141 b from the country in foam sector is among the first at this scale in Article 5 parties (developing countries) under the Montreal Protocol. The implementation of HPMP through regulatory and policy actions, implementation of technology conversion projects has removed around 7800 Metric Tonnes of HCFC 141-b from the baseline level of 2009 and 2010 of the country.  What is the significance of the phase out drive? The phase out of HCFC-141b from the country has twin environmental benefits viz.  (i) Assisting the healing of the stratospheric ozone layer, and  (ii) Towards the climate change mitigation due to transitioning of foam manufacturing enterprises at this scale under HPMP to low global warming potential alternative technologies. What about foam sector in India? The polyurethane foam sector has links with important economic sectors related to buildings, cold storages and cold chain infrastructure, automobiles, commercial refrigeration, domestic appliances such as refrigerators, water geysers, thermo ware, office and domestic furniture applicationsspecific high value niche applications etc.  In India, the foam manufacturing sector is mix of largemedium and small enterprises having varying capacities, with preponderance of MSMEs. Many of the MSMEs operate largely in the informal sector.

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