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Introduction to Methyl Bromide

The efforts to protect the ozone layer were initiated by UNEP in 1972. Since 1977 UNEP has coordinated the studies and assessments, which led to the Vienna Convention in1985. Further negotiations among governments coupled with additional scientific evidence led to the establishment of the Montreal Protocol in 1987.

The Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer is considered to be one of the most successful international environmental treaties geared towards protecting the global atmosphere. The Protocol has undergone several adjustments and amendments since inception.

In 1992, the Fourth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol adopted the Copenhagen Amendment, officially listing Methyl Bromide as an ozone depleting substance. To date, 174 Parties have ratified this amendment including 45 out of 53 African Countries. Under this amendment, methyl bromide is subject to control under Article 2H of the Montreal Protocol.

Methyl bromide is a broad spectrum fumigant used commercially in agriculture for the control of pests such as fungi, bacteria, soil-borne viruses, insects, mites, nematodes, pathogens, and rodents. It has sufficient phytotoxicity to control many weeds and seeds in soil. In Africa, about 4,000 tons of methyl bromide are used annually, primarily for soil fumigation, post-harvest and quarantine treatment. Methyl bromide is also used to fumigate structures such as grain storage facilities and warehouses, flour mills and ships carrying agricultural commodities.


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