India, China's AC prompts ozone worries

February 23, 2007

The growing popularity of air conditioning in India and southern China has some scientists worried about the impact on the ozone layer.

The International Herald Tribune reported that the rising standard of living in the world's two most populous countries means air conditioners are within many peoples' means.

The problem for atmospheric scientists is that the refrigerant in the machines -- HCFC- 22 -- is harmful to the ozone layer and has been identified as the fastest-growing ozone-depleting gas that can be controlled, the newspaper reported.

Meanwhile in the hot city of Mumbai, Geeta Vittal told the International Herald Tribune that when her husband suggested eight years ago they get an air conditioner, she objected because it seemed extravagant. He got one, anyway, and now she's hooked on staying cool.

"All my friends have air conditioners now," she told the newspaper. "Ten years ago, no one did."

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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