Fresh choice of smugglers: ‘R22-Ozone-depleting fridge gas”

The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has warned its offices at ports about smuggling of ozone-depleting materials as there has been a fresh surge in efforts to unlawfully ship R-22 gas, which is used in refrigerants and air-conditioners (ACs). The department of revenue intelligence has recognized fresh ways of smuggling these items into the country viz. R-22 gas cylinders were found to be hidden in shipments where the importer had stated shipments of furniture, kitchen cabinets, photocopiers,fruits, etc.
R-22 gas (Chloro-di-fluoro-methane) is permitted to be imported in India but is licensed. Given the rising market for fridges and air-conditioners, the demand is greater than licensed supply.
In some nations, use of the R22 will will be banned by 2015, while manufacturers were banded from using it in products launched after 2004. R-22 has been predominantly phased out in new equipment in the US under the Montreal Protocol, and has been substituted by other refrigerants with lower ozone depletion ability such as Propane (R-290), Pentafluoroethane, R-134a (1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane), and blended mixtures of HFCs such as R-409A, R-410A, R-438A, and R-507A.
R22 (HCFC-22 or Chloro-di-fluoro-methane or di-fluoro-mono-chloro-methane)

  • Better known as HCFC-22, or R-22R22
  • Other names: Di-fluoro-mono-chloro-methane, Mono-chloro-di-fluoro-methane, HCFC-22, R-22, Genetron 22, Freon 22, Arcton 4, Arcton 22
  • A Hydro-Chloro-Fluoro-Carbon (HCFC)
  • Colorless gas
  • Mostly used as a propellant and refrigerant
  • Has Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) and High Global Warming Potential (GWP) – a powerful greenhouse gas with a GWP of 1810 (i.e. 1810 times as powerful as carbon dioxide).

Despite ODP and GWP, the worldwide use of R-22 continues to rise for its high demand in developing nations.