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An environmental crime can be traced back to a nation

A man waves the Chinese national flag as well as an amateur choir performs in a park in a residential area in Beijing, China on February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter – RTS10PYV

All Over the world, someone has illegally producing an ozone-destroying gas banned more than 30 years ago. Now, researchers and the New York Times may have pinpointed the culprit behind the CFC-11 chlorofluorocarbon: factories, the making of foam insulation in the remote parts of China.

The facilities of CFC-11 in the insulation, which is used in buildings and refrigerators, not as expensive as legal alternatives, and some factory owners were surprisingly frank with the Times of their use.

“Of course, we opted for the cheaper foam agent,” a factory owner, whose plant has since been closed, says. “That’s how we survived.” The Environmental Investigation Agency, a watchdog, says it found at least eight factories in China with the help of CFC-11 to create foam.

The EIA estimates that up to 70% of the production of the foam applications in the chemical, per Climate Home News. An expert tells the Times that the factories with the help of CFC-11, a violation of 1987 the Montreal Protocol, are often smaller operations (which does not even have a name) which move around the rural outposts to avoid detection; if they get caught, they just shrug and pay any fines if they do not exit.

A study published in Nature in May highlighted the problems that this unexpected jump in CFC-11 emissions can result, namely the reduction of the full recovery of the ozone layer by at least 10 years (the target date was originally for the middle of this century).

The head of the UN Environment Program tells the Times that the updated CFC-11 production is “environment crime” that requires immediate action. “We need to dig deeper,” Erik Solheim, said in a statement.

“On the basis of the scale of the emissions, there is good reason to believe that the problem reaches further than these discovered cases.” (In other news, researchers see a controversial way to help the planet.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: ‘Environmental Crime’ Can Be traced back to A Nation

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