This morning, the Ministry of the Environment’s National Ozone Unit hosted an award ceremony at the Institute for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ITVET), where eighteen students were given scholarships to further their studies in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, RAC. Also, the scholarship award ceremony was held to commemorate International Ozone Day 2017, which is celebrated on September 16th, by all countries that are parties to the Montreal Protocol for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. Minister with responsibility for the Environment, Omar Figueroa tell us more.
Minister with responsibility for the Environment, Hon. Omar Figueroa
“Today we had the distinct pleasure and the honor of presenting 18 scholarships. The Government of Belize is providing 18 scholarships to deserving Belizeans. We are doing it through the Department of the Environment because of course it focuses on refrigeration and air conditioning. It’s extremely for this field to be managed properly, for the students to understand the technical aspects of refrigeration and for them to have the proper tools to work with it so we minimize leakage of harmful chemicals into the atmosphere. So this scholarship will come a long way to allowing us to better meet our commitments to the Montreal Protocol of containing and minimizing the release of these chemicals into the atmosphere. Back in the mid-1980s that the ozone layer was discovered, the whole in the ozone layer and since then scientists got to work to better understand what were the causes and consequences of this phenomenon. It became clear that some of the harmful chemicals that are involved in refrigeration and air conditioning were some of the culprits in this and since then we have moved to phase out a lot of these and the actual use of these in the refrigeration equipment. Recent studies have shown that the ozone layer is now shrinking because of the combined effect of the Montreal Protocol bringing countries from across the planet to work together to minimize the release of these harmful chemicals.”
Cynthia Reyes is the only female student in the programme and she was elated and thankful to be one of the recipients of the scholarship.
Cythia Reyes – Student
It’s been a huge help for me because you know financially it’s hard and it’s a bit expensive but I am highly appreciative of the opportunity to pursuing my education because I want to change Belize especially as a woman it’s very uplifting for the other females as well. I really like to do work that men do so it’s something that I like to do.”
The recipients were selected from three institutions from across the country ITVET Belize City, ITVET Orange Walk and Cayo Center for Employment Training (CET). Each scholarship is set to cover the cost of tuition for each recipient for the completion of the second year of their RAC programme, and upon graduating; each recipient will receive a basic toolkit to get them started in the field. On January 9, 1998, Belize signed onto the Montreal Protocol and in 2002 the National Ozone Unit was created to ensure that Belize adhere to the guideline of the Montreal Protocol.