The West African country of Ghana has banned the importation of used refrigerators and air conditioners into the country with effect from January 1, 2013.
The government says the ban is necessary to reduce energy consumption and stop the harmful effect of these products on the environment.
Many old fridges contain chemicals called Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which damage the Earth's ozone layer“There has been a complete ban on the importation of used refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners. The ban took effect from today (January 1)," the Executive Secretary of the Energy Commission, Alfred Ofosu Ahenkorah, confirmed to Daily Graphic, Ghana's leading newspaper, on New Year day.
Many old fridges contain chemicals called Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which damage the Earth's ozone layer. The refrigerator is the largest power-guzzler in the typical household.
The head of Ghana's energy commission told the BBC the ban made Ghana "a pioneer in West Africa". The ban was first introduced in 2008 but was extended to give dealers time to adjust.
However, some Ghanaian traders have criticised the ban, saying thousands of jobs will be lost.
Ofosu-Ahenkora says the second-hand refrigerators are harming the country as they were not built for use in Africa and so consume too much electricity.
The commission says some two million used fridges have been imported to Ghana, mainly from the European Union.