Climate change body eyes plastic-circular economy in Abu Dhabi

Top authority joined by giants such as BASF, Dow, and Coca-Cola as it endeavours to cut plastic waste from the UAE capital

Nearly 13 million tons of plastic enters oceans each year [representational image].
Nearly 13 million tons of plastic enters oceans each year [representational image].

The UAE's Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (Moccae), in collaboration with select public- and private-sector organisations, has formed a coalition to test a closed-loop recycling model for plastic bottles, beverages cartons, and other packaging materials in Abu Dhabi.

Included in the coalition are industry giants such as BASF and Dow Chemicals, as well as heavyweights from other sectors of the economy, such as Borouge, Tetra Pak, Carrefour, Coca-Cola, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association, McDonald's UAE, Nestle, Procter & Gamble, Pepsico, Unilever, and Emirates Nature (WWF).

As part of the initiative, the coalition will launch a pilot project in Abu Dhabi to test the economic and environmental impact of plastic and other packaging materials on the circular economy.

Both Moccae and the coalition circle have called for Abu Dhabi residents to donate segregated packaging, multi-beverage cartons, bags, and other plastic packaging for the pilot project.

The project's outcomes will lead to the coalition deriving recommendations to fast-track sustainability mechanisms and optimise waste management infrastructure in Abu Dhabi. 

During a roundtable hosted recently by HE Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the UAE's Minister of Climate Change and Environment, the coalition's members signed a pledge to develop a circular economy model in order to combat plastic and packaging waste pollution and refine mechanisms of collection and recycling.

The announcement was made on Earth Day, which is observed around the world on 22 April. 

Commenting on the pledge, Al Zeyoudi said: “Statistics indicate that nearly 13 million tons of plastic enters the world’s oceans every year, causing annual ecological losses of over $13bn to marine ecosystems.

“It is also expected that there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish by 2050.”

According to the minister, the UAE is actively pursuing measures to shift towards a more plastic-circular economy and adopt environment-friendly waste management systems, in line with its ambitious target of diverting 75% of municipal solid waste away from landfills by 2021.

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