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China commits to enforcement action over CFC11 production reports

Letter from the Chinese embassy in the UK has said 19 companies are being investigated over a possible manufacture of gas outlawed under the Montreal protocol

Chinese authorities have said that inspections are underway into the potential illegal production and use of the ozone depleting substance CFC11 in polyurethane (PU) foam insulation following recent media reports.

A recent joint inspection of 19 polyurethane foam producers by central and local government bodies in the country found no trace of the use or sale of CFC11 in 12 of the enterprises investigated, according to a representative from the Chinese embassy in the UK.

The same source said that enforcement action has so far been taken against one company that was found to have CFC11 in composite polyether materials, while six other groups were still under investigation.

Last month, a report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) campaign group said it had uncovered “widespread and pervasive” use of CFC11 for construction purposes in China.  The EIA’s findings were used to raise wider questions over the effectiveness of current monitoring mechanisms for global commitments to curb greenhouse gas use and emissions from functions such as cooling.

EIA is therefore pushing for an immediate clampdown of CFC11 use in China and a detailed review of all existing monitoring and enforcement from global partners.

A letter published in response to the EIA’s findings earlier this month in the Guardian Newspaper from Chinese embassy spokesperson Zeng Rong argued that the country’s government is committed to environmental conventions such as the Montreal protocol.  This agreement, first introduced in 1987, outlines required global action on phasing out gasses such as CFCs and HFCs.

China is committed to take action against use of any ozone depleting substances that are not permissible under the Montreal agreement, according to the spokesperson.

The embassy added that local authorities involved in its recent inspections had found two companies based in Liaoning and Henan province that were respectively producing CFC11 and CFC12.

The embassy spokesperson said, “The seized CFCs and raw materials have been confiscated and sealed up, and the local police have filed charges against the enterprises and are hunting down the suspects in the cases.”

“China will continue cracking down on illegal production and use of ODSs and strengthen regulation over relevant industries. Meanwhile, China is willing to further strengthen cooperation with other countries to ensure the effective and continuous implementation of the Montreal protocol.”

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