By Our Reporter
SHILLONG, Nov 20: In a bid to combat the illegal trade of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), an all-India level three-day workshop is under way at Courtyard by Marriot, Shillong, which will end on Wednesday.
It is being conducted by National Academy of Customs, Indirect Taxes and Narcotics (NACIN), Zonal Training Institute, Shillong in collaboration with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Ozone Cell, Ministry of Environment and Forest.
HCFCs are included in the Kyoto Protocol (an international treaty which extended the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that commits state parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions) and are regulated under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol due to their very high global warming potential and the recognition of halocarbon contributions to climate change.
On September 21, 2007, approximately 200 countries agreed to accelerate the elimination of hydrochlorofluorocarbons entirely by 2020 in a United Nations-sponsored Montreal summit.
Developing nations were given until 2030.
Many nations such as the United States and China, who had previously resisted such efforts, agreed with the accelerated phase-out schedule.
Despite all international efforts, many countries continue to produce HCFCs and very often, their products find way into India through illicit trade across the border. India being a signatory of Montreal Protocol is continuing to strive hard in phasing out HCFCS though capacity building with the help of enforcement efforts by officers of CBIC (Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs).
The workshop was inaugurated by Harsh Vardhan Umre, Additional Director General, NACIN, ZTI, Shillong.
Speaking at the inauguration, he pointed out that the efforts of the central government were hindered by the persistent challenge of illegal trade in these substances.
The illicit activities including the production, smuggling and consumption of banned HCFCs not only is of critical significance in the context of combating the crises of climate change, but also undermine environmental goals but also pose serious health risks and economic consequences.
The three-day workshop would cater to various aspects related to the illicit trade of HCFCs such as Ozone layer depletion, national obligations relating to phasing out of HCFCs, Green Customs Initiative and related international conventions WCO perspective, role of Customs officers and other key stakeholders, safety, safe handling, transport and storage of ozone depleting substances.
The workshop is being organised to train the officers of Customs and CGST to enhance their enforcement capabilities, and also create awareness about the use of HCFCs and its effect on the environment.
The workshop, which is attended by 26 officers of CBIC from across India, is being coordinated by Praveen Kandi, Course Director.