KATHMANDU: Nepal is on track to become Chloro Fluoro Carbon (CFC)-free country by 2010, a senior government official said here today. CFC, one of the green house gases responsible for depleting the ozone layer, is used in refrigerator as a coolant.

The agent enters the atmosphere through leakage, thereby creating hole and allowing the direct ultraviolet rays of the Sun to hit the earth, which causes skin cancer. It is estimated that about 25 percent of the HCFC used as the refrigerant is leaked.Nepal Bureau of Standard and Metrology has banned the use of the gas for the maintenance purpose of the old refrigerators since 2004. The government has allowed the sale of only Hydro-CFC-free refrigerators in the market.

According to Nepal Bureau of Standard and Metrology, Nepal is to reduce the leakage by 15 percent a year and to completely eradicate it by 2010. "We are on track to declare Nepal as CFC-free country by 2010," Said Dr.Sitaram Joshi, Director General at the Nepal Bureau of Standard and Metrology.

Nepal has ratified by the Montreal Protocol of 1987 in 1994. Nepal Bureau of Standard and Metrology is the implementing agency.

Nepal falls in the category of 'article 5 countries' with less than 0.3 kg per-capita consumption of CFC per year. It is mandatory for countries in this list to declare themselves CFC-free by 2010. An estimated 500,000 refrigerators used in Nepal, according to the 2004 data of the Nepal Bureau of Standard and Metrology. "The new refrigerators are not the problem but the old ones are our concern" added Joshi. United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) awarded Nepal with "The Montreal Protocol Implementers Award" for the year 2007 for its extraordinary contribution in effective implementation of the Montreal Protocol and the global effort to protect the ozone layer.

The global consumption of chlorofluorocarbons fell from 1.1 million tonnes in 1986 to 0.16 million tones in 1996, UNEP said.

The ozone layer filters out the dangerous ultraviolet rays from the sun protecting the life on earth.