The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer are the international treaties for the protection of the Ozone layer. India became Party to the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol on 18th March, 1991 and 19thJune 1992 respectively.
The Montreal Protocol has been recognized as the most successful international environmental treaty in history. It has been universally ratified and all the 197 countries of the world are Parties to the Vienna Convention and its Montreal Protocol. In the 27 years of its operation with extraordinary international cooperation under the treaty has led to phase-out of production and consumption of several major Ozone Depleting Substances (ODSs) such as Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Carbontetrachloride (CTC) and halons globally from 1st January, 2010. The Montreal Protocol has not only contributed to protect the ozone layer but also has reduced Green House Gas (GHG) emissions by about 11 Giga tonnes CO2 equivalent per year through its ODS phase-out activities so far.
The Government of India has entrusted the work relating to the ozone layer protection and implementation of the Montreal Protocol on Substances the Ozone Layer to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC). The Ministry has established an Empowered Steering Committee (ESC) Chaired by Secretary (EF&CC), which is supported by two standing committees viz. Technology and Finance Standing Committee (TFSC) and the Standing Committee on Monitoring. The ESC is overall responsible for implementation of the Montreal Protocol provisions, review of various policies including implementation options, project approvals and monitoring. The Ministry has set up an Ozone Cell as a National Ozone Unit (NOU) to render necessary services for effective and timely implementation of the Montreal Protocol and its ODS phase-out program in India.
India had prepared a detailed Country Program (CP) in 1993 for the phase-out of ODSs in accordance with its National Industrial Development Strategy by accessing funds from financial mechanism of the Montreal Protocol. The CP was updated in 2006. India has proactively phased out the production and consumption of CFCs except use in Metered Dose Inhalers (MDIs) used for treatment of Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) ailments from 1st August, 2008. Subsequently, the use of CFCs in MDIs has been phased out from December, 2012. India has also completely phased out production and consumption of CTC and halons as of 1stJanuary, 2010.
Currently, the Ozone Cell is engaged in phase-out of production and consumption of next category of chemicals, Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) with an accelerated phase-out schedule as per the Montreal Protocol. The Ozone Cell, MoEF&CC in association with the implementing agencies and in close cooperation with the stakeholders in the country has been implementing following projects :
Accelerated CFC Production Sector Phase-out Project
National CTC Phase-out Plan
National Strategy for Transition to Non-CFC MDIs and Plan for Phase-out of CFCs in the Manufacture of Pharmaceutical MDIs
HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) – Stage-I
HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) – Stage-II