Government says it has started putting in place monitoring teams within the country and at the border posts to restrict the use and importation of all phased out agriculture chemicals that include methyl bromide.
Speaking at a media workshop on Zimbabweâ€™s contribution to the international efforts to preserve the Ozone layer, Head of the National Ozone Unit under the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management, Mr. George Chaumba, said the effects of methyl bromide on human beings, the soil and ecosystem can never be down played.
â€œMethyl bromide is extremely dangerous, its use means that the human body is exposed to ultraviolet radiation and this suppresses the immune system,â€ he said.
This move is seen as the governmentâ€™s response to scientific evidence that the use of methyl bromide, among other chemicals, leads to the depletion of the ozone layer, which in turn results in serious global environmental problems such as global warming and climate change.
In 1995, 226 of the world’s leading atmospheric scientists reported that eliminating methyl bromide use is the most significant way to reduce future ozone loss.
Ozone depletion is linked to rising rates of skin and testicular cancers, eye cataracts and damage to key ecosystems such as neurons involved in cognitive processes and physical coordination or muscular control.
Participants at the workshop urged the government to speed up the development and spread of ozone friendly replacements, in full compliance with the Montreal Protocol so as to allow the ozone layer to regain its full protective power.
Under the Protocol, developed countries have committed to taking the lead in phasing out ozone depleting substances.
Many environmental groups suggested that effective alternatives to methyl bromide that do not harm the ozone layer exist and can be deployed without great cost.
The Montreal Protocol, an agreement drafted in the mid to late 80â€™s and signed by over 162 countries, was put in place to phase out ozone depleting and toxic substances.