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Renewed effort needed to reduce ozone chemicals

Renewed effort needed to reduce ozone destroying chemicals

Media Release

24th September, 2006.

New Zealanders may be surprised to learn that New Zealand has been increasing its use of ozone-destroying methyl bromide, the Green Party says.

"On a day when we are suffering from high UV levels as a result of the ozone hole overhead, it seems crazy that we are not cutting our use of methyl bromide," says Russel Norman, Green Party Co-Leader.

"Our use of methyl bromide, a chemical that is highly destructive of the ozone layer, increased 50% between 1996 and 2004. In 1996 we used 160 tonnes of methyl bromide but this had increased to 243 tonnes in 2004, mostly for quarantine purposes and pre-shipment treatment of timber," Dr. Norman says.

The UN has warned that any failure to meet Montreal Protocol commitments will delay the recovery of the ozone hole - currently predicted to recover by 2065.

"We are one of the countries in the world most vulnerable to ozone destruction because of our proximity to the Antarctic ozone hole. The increased UVB radiation that results from a thinner ozone layer is linked to the development of skin cancer.

"But there is a disturbing lack of urgency in Government efforts to find alternatives to methyl bromide, instead more and more exemptions are issued so that use continues to climb.

"The work underway to find alternatives to methyl bromide needs to be sped up or we will find ourselves delaying the recovery of the ozone hole - a recovery in which we have a strong vested interest."


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