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Ghana Bans Import of Used Refrigerators to Reduce Environmental Damage

Jan 02, 2013 01:05 AM EST

In a bid to reduce energy consumption and harm to the environment, Ghana has banned the importation of used refrigerators, reports BBC.

Ghana is one of the common places in West Africa where there is a rise in e-waste imports from industrialized countries in the West and the European Union, according to a recent report by the United Nations.

Used electronic and electric equipments like computers and televisions contain hazardous material that can cause health risks for people involved in dismantling and disposing the equipment.

Many old fridges that contain chemicals called Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are also used in Ghana. CFCs are organic compounds that contain atoms of carbon, chlorine and fluorine. They are used as coolants in refrigerators. The compound is banned under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, as they damage the Earth's ozone layer.

Following the ban of using CFCs, Ghana officials announced that they are banning old refrigerators from being imported into the country.

The ban first came into effect in 2008, but the dealers were given an extension of three years to adjust to the ban. With the completion of the extension period, the ban was enforced from Dec. 31, 2012.

Speaking to BBC, the head of Ghana's energy commission Alfred Ofosu-Ahenkora said that the ban made Ghana "a pioneer in West Africa." He said that the used refrigerators consume more electricity as they are not built to be used in Africa.

Ghana officials have introduced a rebate scheme to persuade people to give up used fridges and get new ones.

However, many Ghanaian traders and dealers have criticized the ban and expressed concern that they would lose their jobs.

They said that there is still more demand for used refrigerators, as many people cannot afford to buy new ones.

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