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Hungary meets EU regulations in ozone protection

Hungary has drastically reduced the use of substances that damage the ozone layer, in line with European Union regulations, a senior Environment Ministry official said on Wednesday. Speaking at an environmental seminar, Deputy State Secretary Robert Rakics said that since the first relevant efforts in the early 1990's were taken, Freon, a gas contributing to the thinning of the ozone layer had completely been replaced with other materials. Some 20% of total Freon consumption was eliminated through $7 million in grants from the World Bank, which helped companies to buy alternative technologies, Rakics said. The application of HCFC, which was first used to replace Freon, but which still does some harm to the ozone layer, was reduced to an annual 147 tonnes in 2004, compared to 1,371 tonnes consumed in 1999, the official said, adding that the use of methyl-bromide, a soil disinfectant, had been banned in 2005.