Policy issued to phase out single-use plastic bags in Abu Dhabi by 2021

Rolled out by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi the policy will be implemented over the next two years from 2020 to 2021

EAD has collaborated with government and private organisations to issue the policy [representational]
ITP Images/ Shutterstock
EAD has collaborated with government and private organisations to issue the policy [representational]

The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) has rolled out a new policy to eliminate the use of avoidable single-use plastic and non-plastic materials including plastic bags by 2021 in the UAE capital by encouraging sustainable practices such as reusing and recycling.

The policy is part of the Abu Dhabi Government’s efforts to increase sustainability and improve the environment through the ‘Ghadan 21’ programme.

According to Emirates News Agency, the policy will be implemented over the next two years — 2020-21 — in line with international standards in collaboration with government and private organisations.

Additionally, the policy has been prepared in support with Emirates Nature WWF and 12 other government entities, including the Department of Economic Development, as well as six major outlets and many private sector entities producing plastic materials in Abu Dhabi.

The scope of the policy includes developing legislation to limit the use of all plastic materials in Abu Dhabi, through a phased approach and incentives. This covers reducing the consumption of single-use plastic bags and introducing fees on certain materials with available alternatives to prevent the free-of-charge distribution of single-use plastic materials and later targeting a total ban on these materials.

These materials include 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.

Speaking about the policy, secretary general of EAD, Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, said: "The launch of the single-use plastics policy reflects our steadfast commitment towards transitioning to a more sustainable economy that seeks to minimise waste and protect vital ecosystems in our environment.

"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.”

Al Dhaheri added: "An estimated 13 million tonnes of plastic enter the world’s oceans annually, altering vital habitats, endangering marine wildlife and impacting the food chain by releasing toxic chemical compounds.”

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