India today announced that it will eliminate the HFC-23 gas and directed all five plants in the country that produce it as a by-product to "destroy" the super greenhouse gas with high global warming potential.
"The government, hereby directs that...All HCFC-22 plants to destroy HFC-23 produced as a by-product of HCFC-22 production through incineration using an efficient and proven technology such as thermal oxidation," says the order signed by Manoj Kumar Singh, joint secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
HFC-23 is as a by-product of HCFC-22 production.
The order was issued soon after Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave announced at the venue of Conference on Montreal Protocol here that India will eliminate the HFC-23 gas, a potent greenhouse gas with high global warming potential, as part of its commitment to combat the threat emanating from climate-damaging Hydrofluorocarbons.
Dave is in Kigali to attend the high-level segment of the conference on Montreal Protocol.
The Environment Ministry ordered five registered enterprises producing HCFC-22 in India, namely SRF Ltd, Gujarat Fluorocarbons Ltd, Navin Fluorine International Ltd, Chemplast Sanmart Ltd and Hindustan Fluorocarbons Ltd to ensure proper upkeep and maintenance of incineration plants of HFC-23, "so that the down time of incineration plants is maintained below 10 per cent".
It also directed the companies to create and maintain sufficient storage capacity to ensure that all HFC-23 is stored during any authorised incineration shutdown, so that no vending occurs.
Earlier, giving the go-ahead for releasing the order for incinerating the HFC-23 by producers of HCFC-22 gas, Dave said "HFC-23 gas, a potent greenhouse gas with global warming potential 14,800 times more than CO2 is produced as a by-product of HCFC-22 manufacturing, and if vented out in environment, it is a threat to the environment".
The minister clarified that the companies have to internalise the cost of this environmental externality, and create sufficient storage facility to take care of down time and run the incinerators.
It is noted that some HCFC-22 producers even in developed world are not handling the HFC-23 in most professional manner, a statement said.
A N Jha, Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), said this decision of India at this juncture fortifies the determination and commitment of the country on climate issues.
"This will have a positive impact on the discussions on HFCs and will make the governments and producers of HCFC-22 in both developed and developing countries to think on emulating this practice," Jha said.
The government said it is now hard for the teams from countries which are producers of HCFC-22 to negotiate for funding from Multilateral Funds for creating facility for incineration or financial support for incinerating the gas.