The rotary kilns at the Siguaney cement factory in Sancti Spíritus are considered ideal for the destruction of gases that damage the ozone layer. Photo: JUAN ANTONIO BORREGO

Cuba has destroyed 258.4 kilograms of ozone depleting substances this year, placing the island among the small group of nations within the region with their own capacity to undertake such complex work.

As scientist Natacha María Figueredo Valdés, specialist at Cuba’s Ozone Technical Office (OTOZ), reported during a press conference, this task is performed in a modern plant built for the purpose using Japanese technology at the Siguaney cement factory in Sancti Spíritus, which was opened last April and is currently undergoing a phase of operational stabilization.

The specialist noted that the first stage of this project will see ozone depleting substances (ODS) recovered during the substitution of over two and a half million refrigerators and close to 300,000 air conditioning systems from the residential sector. The substitution of these appliances took place over less than three years within the framework of the Energy Revolution at the beginning of the century, a process that allowed the country to completely eliminate the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in domestic refrigeration.

Over the coming months, in the plant’s refrigeration and air conditioning workshops, the hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) present in these appliances will be destroyed.

In addition to contributing to the protection of the ozone layer, the destruction of ODSs also has an impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, thus helping to tackle climate change.

Dr. Nelson Espinosa, director of the OTOZ, a body which will celebrate its twentieth anniversary on September 16 (International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer), emphasized that among the most notable achievements in Cuba over the last four decades is the complete elimination of CFCs in the production of pharmaceutical and industrial aerosols, as well as methyl bromide in crop fumigation, warehouses and other industrial facilities.