As part of its vision to promote sustainable living in the country, the Environment Agency in Abu Dhabi (EAD) is to ban the use of single-use plastic bags effective this June. The implementation is based on the country’s single-use plastic policy that was launched in 2020.
The average person in the country consumes an estimated 94kg of plastic per year, of which a significant amount is composed of single-use plastic.
According to the agency, it plans to gradually reduce the amount of single-use plastic produced used across the country and encourage the use of reusable products. In line with this, EAD is to implement measures to reduce demand for an estimated 16 single-use plastic products that include cups, stirrers, lids, and cutlery.
“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 agency said in a statement.
While the effort to ban single-use plastic is commendable, it’s good to note that Abu Dhabi is part of the UAE, the seventh top producer and consumer of petroleum and petroleum-based products – including plastic – worldwide. The country produces 3.18 million barrels of oil per day.
Since 2020, the agency has coordinated with plastic producers and retailers to ensure effective implementation of the single-use plastic policy, as well as setting new technical standards for multi-use bags.
A large-scale awareness campaign will also be carried out across the country to educate the public about the new procedures.
“We have taken great strides toward realising the policy’s targets and have built the regulatory framework to ensure the policy’s successful implementation,” shared Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, secretary-general of EAD.
“With the support of the UAE government and close collaboration with our stakeholders, we are on the right track towards success.”
EAD also announced its plans to ban the use of single-use styrofoam cups, plates and food containers by 2024.