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NZ not doing a whole lot for ozone

15 September 2006

NZ not doing a whole lot for ozone

Tomorrow is International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer but New Zealand should not be too quick to celebrate its efforts as it is emitting more methyl bromide, a powerful ozone depleting substance, than it was 10 years ago, the Green Party says.

On September 16, 1996 the Ozone Layer Protection Act came into effect, but since then New Zealand has actually increased its total use of methyl bromide, Green Party Environment Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos says.

"Evidence shows the ozone layer is slowly recovering. However, the latest statement from the United Nations Environment Programme, which predicts a recovery date of 2065, warns that any failure by Governments to fully implement the commitments to phase out ozone depleting substances would delay that.

"Twenty years ago New Zealand signed up to the international Montreal Protocol, a worldwide effort to reduce the use of ozone depleting substances, but the evidence I have seen shows that New Zealand is not pulling its weight."

A New Zealand report on the operation of the Ozone Layer Protection Act shows that in 1996 we emitted 160 tonnes of ozone depleting methyl bromide, in 2004 that had increased to 243 tonnes.

This increase was mainly through the use of methyl bromide for quarantine purposes and pre-shipment treatment of timber. Use in this area had risen four fold - from 51 tonnes in 1996 to 205 tonnes in 2004.

"We clearly are not doing all we can to live up to our commitments to either the Montreal Protocol or our own legislation.

"Work is being done to find alternatives to methyl bromide, but this is progressing too slowly. We need to speed this work up to avoid being responsible for delaying the recovery of the ozone layer," Nandor says.

ENDS

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