China is one of the countries that contribute the most to the levels of pollution of all kinds. Since 2013, Chinese producers have been responsible for a significant portion of the utilization of illegal ozone-depleting substances (ODS). A recent study, published a couple of days ago in the journal Nature, reveals that many companies based in China were found guilty of violating a global production ban.
One of the most dangerous substances, trichlorofluoromethane (CFC-11), is one of the prohibited chemicals. The industrial provinces of Shandong and Hebei, located in northern China, were found responsible for 40 to 60% of the global rise of CFC-11. The discovery was made by researchers from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the Britain’s University of Bristol, who worked together to complete the study.
The team of scientists analyzed data gathered from the atmosphere of South Korea and Japan, from 2014 to 2017, and determined that CFC-11 emissions from the eastern portion of China summed up about 7.000.000 kilograms more than those registered in 2008-2012. After the numbers were revealed, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment was asked for an explanation, but its representatives have yet to make an official statement.
The Montreal Protocol decided to ban CFC-11, a substance commonly used in the production of refrigerators and air conditioners. The Montreal Protocol is a treaty with the primary goal of reducing global CFC emissions to protect our planet’s ozone layer. The CFC-11 levels in the atmosphere were reduced by a substantial percent by 2012 but, unfortunately, the levels were restored to their initial state.
Being a highly industrialized country, China was one of the main subjects of the treaty. Chinese representatives ratified the agreement in 1991 and, just last year claimed that they eliminated around 280.000 tonnes of annual ODS production. They also promised to speed up their efforts to reduce the emission of other substances that can harm the ozone layer. However, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) in London kept an eye on Chinese companies throughout last year and found out that they were still using CFC-11 to produce polyurethane foam.
Ian Rae from the University of Melbourne stated that he believes Chinese companies still use the dangerous chemical because of its effectiveness, and they have access to it with the help of rogue users of old supplies and rogue producers. Chinese officials began a campaign to inspect 3.000 foam producers in their country, promising to punish violations of the Montreal Protocol drastically. This year in March, two major foam producers were taken off the market after officials discovered they were emitting CFC-11 into the atmosphere.―Great Lakes Ledger