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Tobacco firms join bid to save ozone layer

News
LOCAL tobacco companies have joined the campaign towards reducing depletion of the ozone layer by introducing environmentally-friendly technologies and chemicals.

LOCAL tobacco companies have joined the campaign towards reducing depletion of the ozone layer by introducing environmentally-friendly technologies and chemicals.

BY VICTORIA MTOMBA

Tobacco Research Board training manager Goodson Khuddu last week told journalists in Harare the tobacco industry had adopted use of float tray technology during seedling production as part of efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions.

He said the floating trays helped farmers to produce seedlings that were free of nematodes, hence reducing use of pesticides.

He said the TRB had come up with a group loan scheme to help farmers to adopt the tray system.

Methyl Bromide was used to fumigate the seedlings for tobacco and when the chemical goes in the air it forms bromide oxide, which depletes the ozone layer.

Ozone layer is a deep layer in the earth’s atmosphere that contains ozone which is a naturally occurring molecule containing three oxygen atoms. These ozone molecules form a gaseous layer in the earth’s upper atmosphere called stratosphere.

Grain Marketing Board quality assurance officer Sheila Chidemo said GMB was phasing out the use of Methyl Bromide, which was used to control pests after the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) gave them funds for the phasing out process.

Chidemo said Unido donated 50 fumigation sheets valued at $3 000 each.

She said Zimbabwe had been using Methyl Bromide and Phosphine to control pests in grain.

“We no longer require the use of Methyl Bromide in grain fumigation but now used phosphine which is affordable and can control all stages of insect development if used properly,” Chidemo said.

Zimbabwe is among countries that have signed the Montreal and Vienna Convention and will hold its Ozone Day commemoration in September this year.