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Abu Dhabi plans to ban single-use plastic bags by 2021

Abu Dhabi plans to ban single-use plastic bags by 2021

The phased programme will include the development of legislation and levying of fees to discourage the use of avoidable plastics

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On Monday, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) announced a new policy to reduce the amount of single-use plastic material in the capital emirate by encouraging recycling and reuse among community members, reported news agency WAM.

It also aims to eliminate the use of avoidable single-use plastic and non-plastic materials by 2021.

To this end, and in a phased manner, there will be incentives to target consumption of single-use plastic bags, followed by the levying of fees on some materials which have available alternatives to prevent the distribution of single-use plastic materials free of charge and finally, a total ban.

There are 16 commonly used single-use plastics that have been identified and will be targeted to varying degrees as part of the programme. It includes plastic bags, beverage cups and lids, plastic cutlery, straws and stirrers and food containers.

Plastic bottles will be targeted through the introduction of a plastic bottle return deposit scheme.

Read: UAE Carrefour stores to soon remove plastic bags as part of Majid Al Futtaim eco-plan

The policy which will be implemented over two years has been designed by involving the public and private sectors.

Emirates Nature WWF and 12 other government entities, including the Department of Economic Development along with six major outlets and several private sector entities were involved in formulating the strategy and its implementation.

The initiative is geared towards meeting the environmental and sustainability goals of the emirate’s Ghadan 21 economic development programme.

“By implementing this new policy, Abu Dhabi will be joining more than 127 countries around the world that have already taken measures to ban or limit the use of disposable plastic materials,” said Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, secretary-general of EAD.

“An estimated 13 million tonnes of plastic enter the world’s oceans annually. If we do not take bold steps to contain the use of single-use plastics through influencing behaviour and effective waste management, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans and seas by 2050.”

In November, UAE retail conglomerate Majid Al Futtaim said that it plans to eliminate single-use plastic from its operations by 2025 including at all its Carrefour stores across the country.

In the United Arab Emirates, 11 billion plastic bags are consumed annually (according to a report presented in The World Government Summit in February 2019), which is the equivalent of 1,184 plastic bags per person per year compared to a global average of 307 plastic bags per person per year.

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