MUSCAT: The Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA) recently organised a workshop to formulate a national assessment system regarding air conditioning and cooling systems.

The workshop was organised as part of the ministry’s efforts to curb the use of ozone depleting substances (ODS).

“The training workshop was aimed at assessing skills and the licensing system currently in operation in the country for refrigeration technicians and air conditioning unit experts. “The workshop was organised in association with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which has been instrumental in implementing the Montreal Protocol,” a MECA spokesman said.

According to UNEP, the Montreal Protocol came into force on September 16, 1987. All countries have ratified this treaty, which binds nations to phase out the use of chemicals that deplete the ozone layer.

Ozone depleting substances like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halon are used mainly in refrigerants, air conditioners, fire fighting solvents, and agriculture.

Various other agencies involved with the implementation of Montreal Protocol also participated in the workshop, which discussed effective ways to introduce a national assessment system while dealing with licensing technicians and refrigeration and air conditioning workers, the spokesman said.

It also discussed professional standards to be put in place to reduce energy consumption and ozone depleting substances, and also to meet the requirements of the international convention, he said. In its drive to reduce ozone depleting substances, the ministry has been organising several awareness campaigns, targeting people from all walks of life.

“The ministry has been conducting lectures through meetings, radio, television and print media. Besides, brochures and posters explaining the harmful aspects of ozone depleting substances have also been distributed among the public. The ministry has been taking efforts to discourage people from buying substances which are detrimental to the well-being of other species and the ecology. Furthermore, a Ministerial Decree (107/2013) under the name of Regulations on the Protection of the Ozone Layer has also been issued,” he said.

He also said that the ministry has been collaborating with various international agencies to get rid of ozone depleting substances, adding that these collaborative projects are undertaken in various phases