Training Workshop for Customs Officers
"Prevention of Illegal CFC Trade"
Northern Border, Corozal, Belize
As a follow-up to the Custom's Workshop held in Belize City, the NOU organized a workshop with the purpose of training and sensitizing Customs Officers with issues regarding illegal CFC trade at Belize Northern Border (Border of Belize with Mexico). Participants of the workshop including Customs officers stationed at the northern border only. The workshop was conducted on the 7th of November 2007.
The workshop consisted of several presentation including topics such as Ozone Layer Science, Montreal Protocol, Refrigerant Management Plan, ODS Licensing System, Prevention of Illegal CFC Trade, Labels and Packaging of ODS, Common ODS Smuggling Methods, among others. All officers were provided with a CD with lots of information concerning illegal trade of ODS. They were given samples of the ODS import/export license and also with copies of the Customs Officer’s Quick Tools for Screening ODS.
A practical session was also part of the agenda. During the practical session, the officers were introduced to the Refrigerant Identifier and refrigerant cylinders. All parts and accessories of the Refrigerant Identifiers were well explained to the officers as well as the types of refrigerants the identifier can classify and which ones it can’t. At the first part of the practical session, the officers were trained how to identify the type of refrigerant that is found inside a cylinder. The identifier is very user-friendly; hence the officer easily learned the proper procedures in identifying refrigerants inside a cylinder. The officers had the opportunity to put their hands on the identifier and performed the procedures on their own; they were successful in properly using the equipment.
The second part of the practical session involved identifying refrigerants used in a mobile air conditioning system, that is, in vehicles. The officers were provided with a brief synopsis on how the AC system of vehicles works, as well as the different parts of the AC System. Officers were trained how to do the proper connection of the identifier’s hoses to the correct valves of the vehicle’s AC system. It was very important for the officers to master this procedure because of how the vehicle’s AC system operates. The officers were shown how to differentiate the low side from the high side of the system. The identifier should always be connected to the low side of the AC system for it to operate efficiently, if it is connected to the high pressure side of the system, liquid would be get into the identifier at a pressure which could cause damage to the equipment. The officers didn’t hesitate to try it and were successful at properly using the identifier to examine the refrigerant of the vehicle’s AC system.
Twenty two (22) customs officers participated at the workshop. The participants were very interested in the workshop. It was very interactive, since many questions and comments were voiced during the course of the training especially during the practical session.
Leonides Sosa - Ozone Officer Assistant, National Ozone Unit, Department of the Environment
Jorge Franco - Environmental Technician, Department of the Environment