All chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), ozone depleting gases, will be barred from entering Vietnam as of January 1, 2010, a Vietnamese environmental official has said.

CFCs are man-made chemical compounds used as refrigerants and to produce foam materials, which also contribute to the dwindling of the ozone layer.

Permanent Vice Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Van Duc announced this at a ceremony in Hanoi to mark International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer September 16.

He added that his ministry is expected to submit to the Government for consideration policy measures to also prohibit the use of hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) as regulated by the Montreal Protocol, which was ratified by Vietnam in 1994. HCFCs are one class of chemicals being used to replace the CFCs, but they also trigger ozone depletion.

According to the World Bank’s estimates, Vietnam needs around 20 million USD in the next 15-20 years to eradicate completely the usage of HCFCs.

The estimates was made amid concerns that most of businesses have not found an ideal substitute for HCFCs, while the prices of substitutes usually used as well as alternative green technology are too high relative to their initial investment capacty.

However, Ozone Multilateral Fund of the World Bank has by now funded 7.3 million USD worth of financial support and technology to Vietnamese enterprises to help them stop using CFCs. Among them are a series of companies and 850 establishments that repair car air conditioning units./.