RWANDA: Businesses and refrigeration and air-conditioning experts from 28 African countries are meeting in Kigali, Rwanda until Friday to discuss adopting alternative hydrocarbon refrigerants and how to safely handle and service equipment that uses them.
UNEP representatives have asked air-conditioning and refrigeration business owners to consider putting a limit on the amount of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment they buy which use HCFC's.
"You are giving quotas to importers, so that means you are also starving the market," said Marvin Kamthunzi, a UNEP consultant.
Kamthunzi noted that with Europe having already banned HCFCs since 2010 are now using natural and alternative refrigerants that do not cause the same damage to the environment.
Rwanda has already reduced its use of HCFCs in air-conditioning and refrigeration systems by 30 per cent. 20% higher than that required by the Montreal Protocol.
"We are part of the global village and it is our duty to comply at least for the sake of others," said Rose Mukankomeje, director general of the Rwanda Environment Management Authority.
One air-conditioning and refrigeration business owner expressed concern about the challenges of reducing HCFC usage on such a short time line.
"I think it's going to be a nightmare because when R-12 (another refrigerant) was being phased out, we already had an alternative in the market," said a participant.
Kamthunzi said training would be necessary to ensure that technicians know how to properly handle any new refrigerants on the market.