WELLINGTON Two refrigeration engineers have been convicted by a New Zealand court for depleting the ozone layer.
The country's Ministry for Economic Development prosecuted the two men in the first ever case taken under a 1996 law protecting the ozone layer.
The pair released an ozone depleting substance, chlorodifluoromethane HCFC22, into the atmosphere as they were repairing a drinks chiller, and ignored a warning that it was hazardous.
The Ministry said it took the case as a warning to industry. The two were convicted and fined NZ$750 each (290 pounds).
Permits are needed to handle HCFCs, which will be banned under an international agreement from 2015.
(Editing by Alex Richardson)