Hotels in Victoria Falls are “Going Green” by adopting ozone and climate friendly technology in their refrigeration and air conditioning appliances.
The hotels are also managing their waste in any eco-friendly way in line with EMA (Environmental management agency) and local authority guidelines.
Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are a group of chemicals that contain Hydrogen, Chlorine, Fluorine and Carbon atoms. HCFCs are widely used in refrigeration and air conditioning but once discharged into the atmosphere, they contribute to ozone layer depletion and global warming.
HCFCs are listed as controlled substances under the Montreal Protocol and are scheduled to be completely phased out on the 1st January 2030. Zimbabwe does not produce these HCFCs and therefore relies on import to meet the demands for national refrigeration and air conditioning appliances.
The country has started facing severe shortages of HCFC-22 and HCFC-22 based components for the appliances that still run on HCFC-22. Elephant Hills Resort and Conference Centre has decided to decommission the remaining 190 air conditioning units that are currently running on HCFC-22 and replace them with HFC-410A which will be phased down at a much later date after 2045.
In order to avoid release of the HCFC-22 into the atmosphere during the decommissioning exercise, the refrigerant needs to be capture, stored into a cylinder and then sent for destruction through high temperature incineration.
At the request of the General Manager of the Elephant Hills Resort, Chiku Mulinde, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Munesushe Munodawafa and his technical team comprising the Director of the Climate Change Management Department, Washington Zhakata and the National Ozone Project Manager George Chaumba, took eleven cylinders and one recovery machine to Victoria Falls for the exercise.
Munodawafa applauded management and staff at Elephant Hills for taking a proactive role in caring for the atmosphere by deciding to capture the gas which has dangerous effects on the ozone layer and the global climate system.
“The decommissioning of HCFC-22 based air conditioning appliances and replacing them with HFC-410A will result in less emission of the ozone depleting refrigerants thereby contributing to the recovery of the ozone layer.
“The tools are given at no cost to the hotel.
“The hotel management should update the Environment Ministry on progress of the decommissioning process and to report on quantities that will have been recovered as the Government is also obliged to report on quantities of recovered and destroyed refrigerants,” Munodawafa said.
Capturing the refrigerants and destroying them through high temperature incineration reduces the impacts of these HCFC on the stratospheric ozone layer and the global climate system.
“The Ministry will organise the collection and proper disposal of the recovered refrigerant after the decommissioning process,” Munodawafa said further.
The initiative taken by Elephant Hills Resort was applauded and the Permanent Secretary urged other tourism players to emulate the decision taken by the hotel.
“Our Ministry will continue to work with implementing partners to acquire more tools to be used for such activities,” Munodawafa affirmed.
In his acceptance speech, Mulinde thanked the Ministry for the tools and pledged that the hotel will supply all the required information to the Ministry regularly.