The Minister of Environmental Affairs has proposed that ozone depletion substances be declared priority air pollutants under the National Environmental Management:  Air Quality Act No 39 of 2004 (the Declaration).  This is according to Sandra Gore, Director in the Environmental Practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr. She notes that these gases include chlorofluorocarbons; bromochlorofluorocarbons; halons; carbon tetrachloride; 1,1,1 trichloroethane;hydrobromofluorocarbons; and bromochloromethane.Gore explains that in the regulations, the required phasing out of these substances is required. This includes producing, importing, exporting, using or placing on the market. “Use of the substances is, however, allowed for critical use (being necessary for health, safety or critical functioning of society, and there are no available technically and economically feasible alternative substitutes that are acceptable),” she explains.

Gore notes that a person who is in possession of a stockpile of such ozone-depleting substances should, within 12 months, submit a stockpile abatement plan to the Director-General.

“Failure to submit such a plan is an offence and, on conviction, a party could be liable to a maximum fine or imprisonment of R5 million and 5 years respectively,” she adds.