Authorities in Abu Dhabi announced that single-use plastic bags will be banned from June 2022. The decision is based on the Emirate’s integrated single-use plastic policy that was introduced in 2020 and is part of the UAE’s vision to enhance sustainable living in Abu Dhabi.
The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) noted that it plans to gradually reduce the amount of single-use plastic products consumed across the Emirate, and encourage the use of reusable ones.
In this context, EAD is planning to implement measures to reduce demand for about 16 single-use plastic products that include cups, stirrers, lids and cutlery.
Additionally, it is also looking to phase out single-use Styrofoam cups, plates and food containers by 2024.
The comprehensive policy has been developed to promote a healthy environment and a sustainable lifestyle for all and to combat climate change by reducing resource consumption and associated pollution.
The authority says it has “coordinated extensively with strategic partners” – especially plastics producers and retailers – since March 2020 to ensure effective implementation, as new technical standards for multi-use bags have been set.
A large-scale awareness campaign will be carried out across the Emirate to educate the public on the new procedures, it added.
“As part of our plan to completely curb the use of single-use plastics, we are encouraging Abu Dhabi citizens to use more multipurpose and re-usable materials to reduce their environmental footprint,” said Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of EAD.
“Today, we are introducing a ban on single-use plastic bags in the Capital in light of their harmful impacts on the environment and biodiversity.”
In the context of implementing the policy, EAD has organised clean-up events and awareness campaigns, encouraging community members to play a role in protecting the environment, while educating people on the damaging impact of single-use plastics on beaches and marine habitats.
It is also targeting private sector companies, providing them with tools to effectively plan for the policy’s implementation.
Several restaurants are launching initiatives to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics, while some major retailers are encouraging shoppers to use reusable shopping bags.
EAD is also conducting a detailed and holistic study for the introduction of an incentive-based, single-use plastic water bottle return scheme in Abu Dhabi, in partnership with more than 30 private and public entities. ♦