Guard against direct sun, bleaching to avoid skin cancer, eye cataracts

Guard against direct sun, bleaching to avoid skin cancer, eye cataracts

Maxwell Tapatapa
Herald Reporter

As the climate change effects continue, people must desist from directly working in the sun and skin bleaching as this causes skin cancer, eye cataracts and suppression of the immune system, said a Ministry of Environment, Climate and Wildlife senior official recently.

Speaking at a sensitisation workshop for the members of the Ozone Project Steering Committee members in Harare, the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Wildlife Ozone Project Manager Mr George Chaumba said too much exposure to UltraViolet Radiation has long-term effects that people must guard against.

“The issues of bleaching reduce melanin which protects us from excessive ultraviolet radiation and also not covering our bodies completely especially when working outside because people will be exposed to too much ultraviolet radiation.

“The effects are that too much exposure to ultraviolet radiation will actually result in skin cancer, eye cataracts and suppression of the immune system. We urge people to minimise working in the direct sun and also to make sure that they properly cover their body when working outdoors.

“Bleaching, people should actually not attempt to do it because it makes them vulnerable to the effects of ultraviolet radiation,” he said.

Mr Chaumba also said the country is now focusing on phasing out the Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) mainly the Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and they are now looking at other environmental benefits associated with the phasing out of these chemicals.

The Government of Zimbabwe is implementing Stage II of the Hydro-chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) with financial support from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as the Lead Implementing Agency and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as the cooperating Implementing Agency.

The Stage II HPMP implementation will see the country reducing its HCFC consumption by 67.5% in 2025 and completely phasing out the use of HCFC by 2030.

HCFCs are still extensively used in refrigeration and air conditioning in Zimbabwe and the Ministry is working closely with other stakeholders to ensure the country complies with the HCFC phase-out schedules under the Montreal Protocol.

Mr Chaumba said they are making strides in training refrigerator technicians and customs officers to ensure that the country reduces the remaining ozone-depleting substances.

“We are training refrigeration technicians on how to work with alternatives that are safe to the ozone and climate systems as well as the customs officers to ensure that they control goods that are coming at the port of entry. The Illegal that might be smuggled are substances with high ozone depleting potential and high global warming potential like the chlorofluorocarbons which have been banned.”

He added that inexperienced refrigerator technicians and ignorant people damage the environment.

“The vending of refrigerants ends up escaping into the atmosphere where they cause ozone layer depletion and global warming. They are like piercing pipes in refrigerators when food becomes frozen they use sharp objects thereby they are causing substances to escape from the refrigeration system into the surface. These are some of the bad practices that are normally done and which result in the emission of refrigeration into the atmosphere.”

Refrigerator repair technician Mr Freeborn Taruvinga urged people to avoid their refrigerators from being repaired by people who are not certified for the job.

He said before people give a technician to repair their fridge they must first ask for a certification as this helps in protecting the environment as well as their property.

He added that some technicians are careless that they emit refrigeration gases into the air.

The Herald