Ozone layer issues: China

China Closes Ozone Depleting Chemical Plants. On July 1, China, the world's largest producer of CFCs and halon, shut down five of its six remaining plants, putting the country two and a half years ahead of the Montreal Protocol's 2010 deadline for phase-out of the two ozone-depleting chemicals. The facilities were closed during a symbolic ceremony organized by Chinese authorities in recognition of chemical companies' efforts to stop manufacturing products that harm the ozone layer and as part of the global 'Remembering Our Future' initiative sponsored by UNEP. The shut-down of the five facilities, in Chiangshou City, near Shanghai, will bring China's CFC production to just about 550 metric tons, down from 55 000 metric tons at its peak in 1998. The remaining production is being kept strictly to produce CFCs for metered-dose inhalers, used in the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The closure of the Chinese plants now puts India and South Korea as leading producers of the two ozone-depleting chemicals in Asia Pacific, with a remaining combined production level of about 15 000 metric tons. Achim Steiner, UNEP' s Executive Director, said: "On the 20th Anniversary of the Montreal Protocol, with more than 95% of the ozone-depleting substances being phased out, the Protocol is among the great success stories of recent years. This success underlines how, with political will, creative financing mechanisms and the support for industry and NGOs, the international community can rise to the challenge of sustainable development." Katherine Sierra, Vice-President for Sustainable Development at the World Bank, said: "The closure of CFC production facilities in China is marking a significant milestone not only for the Montreal Protocol, but also for the cooperation between the Government of China and the industry in their efforts to restore the ozone layer."