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Refrigeration Technician Association meets with Stakeholders Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 17 May 2012 00:00

Refrigeration TechniciansThe Association of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technicians (ARACT) presented its first Annual Implementation Work Plan and its Budget and Expenditure 2012 to industry stakeholders on Tuesday, May 15, at the Princess Hotel and Casino.

ARACT has existed since 2008 but was officially established with the passage of the Refrigeration Technicians Licensing Act in 2010. The association is responsible for the processing of license applications. Local technicians had numerous questions for ARACT at its conference on Tuesday. Hezron Hernandez, President of ARACT, said that the main concern of the technicians is in regard to enforcement of the law. Technicians are asking for leniency, which the association seems willing to grant. However, Hernandez explained that technicians in Belize have already been given years of grace periods when compared to other countries. The new regulations in the industry are a result of Belize’s commitment to the Montreal Protocol.   

In 1997, Belize signed on to an international agreement called the Montreal Protocol on Substance that Depletes the Ozone Layer. It is an international treaty designed to protect the Ozone Layer by phasing out the production of a number of substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion. It is believed that if the international agreement is adhered to, the Ozone Layer will recover by 2050. Due to its widespread adoption and implementation, it has been hailed as an example of exceptional international co-operation. Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the UN from 1997 to 2007, says that it is "perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date.”

The main enemy of the Ozone Layer is Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and related gases. This gas was mainly used in refrigerants. Belize designed a plan to phase out the use of CFCs in seven to eight years, which is in accordance with the Protocol. This was achieved by 2009  however, Belize, like much of the rest of the world, adapted the use of Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFCs) refrigerants as a replacement product. Studies proved that the HCFC’s are as destructive as the CFCs. Therefore, the fight now is to get rid of HCFCs by 2030.

It is important for refrigeration technicians to have an understanding of the chemical components in products they use daily. Technicians must pay a non-refundable fee of $200 when applying for a license. According to Hernandez, the funds generated from the application fee will be used to continue to finance the implementation of various activities and training programs for technicians. Technicians are now being trained to use Hydrocarbons instead of HCFCs. It is new to local technicians but, for the protection of the environment, it is imperative that they understand the use, handling and safety of Hydrocarbon refrigerants.