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Mystery source of ozone-depleting CFC found


Posted on Monday, 9 July, 2018 | Comment icon 19 comments

China's plastic foam manufacturers are using illegal chemicals. Image Credit: NASA
Investigators have finally determined the source of the unexplained rise in atmospheric levels of CFC-11.
Earlier this year, a mysterious surge in emissions of this notorious ozone-destroying chemical lead to a lengthy investigation as authorities attempted to track down exactly who was responsible.

The chemical CFC-11 (trichlorofluoromethane) has been banned since 2010 due to its destructive effect on the planet's ozone layer - a special region which helps to protect the Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation coming from the sun.

Now according to a new report published on Monday, the actual source of the mysterious CFC-11 emissions appears to be China's plastic foam manufacturing industry.

Incredibly, several factories are still using the chemical despite knowing full well that it is illegal.

"We were dumbfounded when out of 21 companies, 18 of them across China confirmed use of CFC-11, while acknowledging the illegality and being very blase about its use," said Avipsa Mahapatra of the Environmental Investigation Agency.

"It was very clear. These companies, again and again, told us everybody else does this."

It turns out that there could be as many as 3,500 small and medium companies using the chemical.

"We didn't know what on Earth someone would be using CFC-11 for - well, here's one answer and that's a surprise," said Steve Montzka of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"Despite efforts to get rid of this activity, it continues."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (19)

Tags: Ozone Layer

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by Timothy on 10 July, 2018, 9:44
Australia is far from perfect in many aspects, including being environmentally friendly.  There are plenty of other nations out there doing as much, or more than the Aussies are.  Having said that, I agree that China is one of the nations that ultimately does not care, until they’re made to. Yes they’re an economic superpower and are modernising. But also they are so primitive in many ways.  All you can hope for is that enough of the world get on board to stop this kind of thing from continuing. 
Comment icon #11 Posted by lost_shaman on 10 July, 2018, 10:23
Or just stop buying junk that you know is the source of pollution from China.   
Comment icon #12 Posted by A rather obscure Bassoon on 10 July, 2018, 14:00
Screw the carbon tax Trudeau is going to be forced to impose a unpopular tax in federal election year bye bye Justin.  
Comment icon #13 Posted by paperdyer on 10 July, 2018, 20:00
It's not the Government.  There are so many small manufacturers and not enough inspectors to go  around. I wouldn't be surprised at a few payoffs along the way, either.  The Chinese have an ancient saying, "It's only illegal if you get caught."  Now they are getting caught. Granted China shouldn't have let it happen in the first place, but they want to jump start their economy, which they did.  Now they have us by the short hairs because China and to some extent India, control the bulk of the manufacturing train either by base materials or by direct manufacturing of the finished products.   Ju... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by Timothy on 11 July, 2018, 9:43
It’s just sad that the public would put their own interests over real change.  People scream ‘environmentally friendly’ when it suits them, then are happy to remove the leader if new policy costs them anything in extra taxes, or if they lose any of their perceived entitlements. Not everyone is like that, but it is accurate for the majority at this stage.  Don’t worry, the same thing happens here in Australia.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Gecks on 11 July, 2018, 11:18
Thats a fair point. Perhaps governments should be looking at making more environmentally friendly processes more affordable if they want people to work within their guidelines.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Gecks on 11 July, 2018, 11:33
I dont know your personal situation but myself I soley support a family of 5 working 6 days a week and some weeks are around 60 hours... we barely scrape by week to week. A lot of others are in similar financial situations to us. Should my wife and 3 young children be out on the street so malcolm turnbull on his $500,000 + per year can apparently implement some 'real change' by forcing us to pay a premium for renewable energy? 
Comment icon #17 Posted by Timothy on 11 July, 2018, 12:04
Yes my personal situation is completely different, hence why I added the ‘not everyone is like that’.  I was talking about the general population and general opinions on the matter.  I would have hoped that you read and realised that my previous reply to you was liberal, not specific.  I’m not trying to take anything away from what you’re doing to support your family, and I’d never attack someone who needs to provide that support over popular environmental and governmental matters. Please don’t take my comments in any way a criticism of how you are providing for you family. Also, I never previ... [More]
Comment icon #18 Posted by Berwen on 11 July, 2018, 13:47
Why is this not surprising? China (along with the USA) creates most of the pollution in the world and its attitude about ivory and other weird concoctions that destroy life has to be changed.
Comment icon #19 Posted by Gecks on 12 July, 2018, 0:00
No mate, not offended and thanks. Im not trying to use my situation to help an argument, however I do believe theres a lot more people in the world now living in hard financial situations than we have seen in a long time and I think politicians on good salarys quickly forget the imposition they put on those that dont necessarily have the financial ability to sustain said promises and policys. 


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