09 Mar 2020 Story

Lao People's Democratic Republic clamps down on refrigerant smugglers

The raid is not like other police raids.

No flashing lights and no breaking down doors. There is no cache of weapons to seize. But on a planetary scale, what the police came to confiscate is no less dangerous.

On the outskirts of Vientiane, Lao Environment Police enter a nondescript shop selling refrigerators, rice cookers and other appliances, flanked by officials from the Pollution Control Department and the Department of Domestic Trade.

They have been tipped off that the shop is likely selling smuggled refrigerants.

Many refrigerants are subject to strict regulations in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, as they are in other countries. Some are banned entirely. In the 1970s, scientists discovered certain refrigerants called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were destroying the ozone layer.

A global agreement, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, was forged to phase out these ozone-depleting substances. Replacements for CFCs, called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), are also now being phased out under the Protocol due to their extremely high global warming potential. Read more...



For further information

Mr Hu Shaofeng
Senior Montreal Protocol Regional Coordinator
UNEP OzonAction
Asia-Pacific Office
Email: hus@un.org