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24 Cities Create Group to Protect Ozone Layer

Times Staff Writer

A two-day conference in Irvine exploring depletion of the Earth’s ozone layer ended Saturday with establishment of the first nationwide group of elected officials aimed at eliminating substances harmful to the atmosphere.

Representatives of two dozen U.S. and Canadian cities said creation of the North American Congress of Local Governments for a Stratospheric Protection Accord represents a new and potentially sweeping movement in the campaign to stop depletion of the ozone layer.

“The people here today represent cities that account for 10 million people in the United States,” said project director Jeb Brugmann. “We see ourselves as catalysts for action at the state, national and international level.”

Scientists have established that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other chlorinated solvents are destroying the earth’s ozone. The layer protects the planet from ultraviolet radiation which can cause skin cancer and other disease.

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CFCs also are associated with global warming, which scientists predict could cause catastrophic changes in the Earth’s climate.

Conference participants adopted a resolution calling on local governments throughout the world to ban ozone-depleting compounds.

Provisions of the resolution call for:

A ban, by 1992, of all ozone-depleting compounds unless no alternative is available.

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A ban, by 1992, on the manufacture and sale of plastic packaging and insulation material.

Recycling or disposal of ozone-depleting compounds in products such as fire extinguishers, air conditioners and refrigerators.

The resolution also urges a reduction in the use of fossil fuels, implementation of tree-planting programs and legislation requiring local governments to provide information to the public on the presence of CFCs in their community.

Conference participants credited the city of Irvine, which last week passed what is thought to be the most comprehensive ordinance in the nation restricting chlorofluorocarbons, with providing impetus to the campaign to save the atmosphere.

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“We will look at the Irvine ordinance to see what we have covered and to research what more can be implemented” at the local level, said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Ruth Galanter.

Galanter recently introduced a measure similar to that adopted in Irvine that would phase out plastic packaging in Los Angeles.

Conference participants appointed three committees that will address the issues of ozone-depletion and global warming, and will develop policies.

The group plans to send representatives to the National League of Cities conference, meeting in Atlanta this November, and will ask more cities to join the group, organizers said.

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