What’s in news?
India has successfully achieved the complete phase out of Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-141 b.
What are HCFCs?
- Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are a large group of compounds, whose structure is very close to that of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), but including one or more hydrogen atoms.
- Under normal conditions, HCFCs are gases or liquids which evaporate easily. They are generally fairly stable and unreactive.
- HCFCs do not usually dissolve in water, but do dissolve in organic (carbon-containing) solvents.
- HCFCs are chemically similar to Hydrobromofluorocarbons (HBFCs), Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and Halons and therefore display some similar properties, though they are much less stable and persistent.
- HCFCs are also part of a group of chemicals known as the volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Impact on the environment:
- HCFCs are unlikely to have any impact on the environment in the immediate vicinity of their release.
- As VOCs, they may be slightly involved in reactions to produce ozone, which can cause damage to plants and materials on a local scale.
- At a global level however, releases of HCFCs have serious environmental consequences.
- Although not as stable and therefore not so persistent in the atmosphere as CFCs, HBFCs or Halons, they can still end up in the higher atmosphere (stratosphere) where they can destroy the ozone layer, thus reducing the protection it offers the earth from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
- HCFCs also contribute to Global Warming (through “the Greenhouse Effect”).
- Although the amounts emitted are relatively small, they have a powerful warming effect (a very high “Global Warming Potential”).
Links to note: