Ozone Layer Protection

Ozone layer protection is the subject matter of international conventions, namely the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol. The prescribed measures are primarily aimed at the termination of the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances. The European Union has more profound regulations in the area, setting further obligations with respect to prevention of emissions of such substances from installations still in use as well as appliances and products beyond their useful life.

This section includes information on ozone-depleting substances and some other substances that are used abundantly as substitutes but contribute substantially to global warming (fluorised greenhouse gases). Both the groups of substances are halogenised hydrocarbons and are used similarly, including as coolants, extinguishing media and solvents, and both belong among the so-called greenhouse gases. The basic difference between them is the absence of other halogens in the molecules of the fluorised greenhouse gases. Whereas the ozone-depleting substances contain mainly chlorine (which causes the depletion of the ozone layer) or fluoride or bromine (likewise), the fluorised greenhouse gases only contain fluoride, not contributing to the depletion of the ozone layer.

Both groups of substances have been used largely in refrigeration and air conditioning, fire protection, the chemical industry, aerosols, heat pumps, insulators, laboratories and preparations for asthma (MDI). In addition, fluorised greenhouse gases are used as solvents and as inert atmosphere in high-voltage switching devices.

The prevention of emissions of fluorised greenhouse gases is derived from the commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and the Framework Convention on Climate Change. The prescribed measures are primarily aimed at prevention of emissions of these substances by means of their recovery from discarded appliances, performance of regular measurements of leaks of the substances from installations, and definition of qualifications required for servicing tasks carried out in the installations.