Written Answers. - Ozone Layer Protection.

William Cotter

Ceist:

31 Mr. Cotter asked the Minister for the Environment if he will outline the progress which has been made in this country regarding the use of ozone depletion substances; whether he is in contact with the EC and world organisations regarding protection of the ozone layer; if he will give details of the likely effect on Irish citizens of a 10 per cent decrease in ozone; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Roger T. Garland

Ceist:

179 Mr. Garland asked the Minister for the Environment if he would agree that, while the Government have agreed to the new phase out date for CFC usage in 1995, we in Ireland are uniquely placed to take a lead in combating a problem of global proportions since no CFCs are manufactured in the Republic although many are used; if he will introduce legislation as soon as possible to prohibit the importation of CFCs into this country, and thereby force those industries that currently make use of them to change over to less environmentally destructive substitutes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

I propose to take Questions Nos. 31 and 179 together.

I refer to the replies to Questions No. 336 of 18 February, 1992 and to Questions Nos. 29, 122, 143, 145 and 148 of 25 March, 1992.

Within the EC, controls arising from the Montreal Protocol on the production and use of CFCs and other ozone depleting substances are operated on a community-wide basis. This regional approach is rational and effective; overall Community sales of the main CFCs have been reduced by more than 40 per cent between 1986 and 1990.

CFCs and related substances are not produced in Ireland and our overall use of them is small. The latest figures available to my Department show annual national usage of the main CFCs at approximately 2,500 tonnes; this represents a decrease broadly in line with the pattern in the Community as a whole. My Department has had good co-operation with the CII, FICI and the principal users in encouraging the earliest possible phase out here of ozone depleting substances.

In accordance with the agreement reached at the Environment Council on 23 March 1992, the EC Commission has submitted a draft regulation providing for the elimination of production and use of the main ozone depleting substances by 31 December 1995. Ireland has fully supported this timetable.
Studies are continuing worldwide on the implications of ozone layer depletion for human health. The Department of Health, with whom my office is in contact, is monitoring this aspect closely.