This was said in Harare at the opening of the 15th Joint Ozone-Depleting Substances Officers Network Meeting for African Countries (ODSONET), which will be hosted byÂ Zimbabwe this year.
The meeting is part of ongoing programme to assist African countries to comply with the Montreal Protocol under which countries all over the world are compelled to phase out the use of ozone-depleting substances.
Officially opening the conference, Environment and Natural Resources Management Minister, Cde Francis Nhema revealed that reports from all African countries indicate that most countries with the exception of a few have managed to phase out most of the ozone depleting substances.
He said the government of Zimbabwe is committed to the total elimination of ozone-depleting substances as evidenced by the fact that it was one of the first developing countries to ratify the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol in 1992.
Cde Nhema said the biggest problem faced by the country in phasing out ozone-depleting substances is to curb of imports of contaminated refrigerants which is causing damage to refrigeration appliances.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Interim Head of Ozone, Mr. James Curlin said although most African countries have managed to phase out ozone depleting substances attention should be paid to the licence system in different countries as well as double checking if the chemicals are completely and permanently phased out.
Africa Ozone Secretariat, Mr. Gerald Mutisya and Africa Programme Management Officer, Djiby Diop urged countries that have not complied to work towards meeting the 2013 freeze of such chemicals as well as the 2020 reduction target for hydro-chlorofluorocarbons.
The major ozone-depleting substances in use in the country and still to be phased out are methyl bromide and hydro-chlorofluorocarbons which are used in agriculture particularly tobacco seedbed and stored grain fumigation and in refrigeration and air conditioning.