Dubai: In a major step to boost the protection of the country's environment and stop the use of harmful material, manufacturers of plastic bags will have until the end of the year to register their products as biodegradable, according to a deadline set by the Ministry of Environment and Water.
An ingredient which can be added to the plastic bag production line has been approved by the ministry and is now widely available on the market, said Dr Mariam Al Shenasi, executive director at the ministry.
"It should be very easy now for manufacturers to make the switch," Al Shenasi told Gulf News. "We started the campaign two years ago and sent out reminders six months ago. It is time to take action."
Forty-eight per cent of private sector companies in the UAE, such as supermarkets, that use plastic bags have already switched to biodegradable bags in line with a federal decree issued in 2009 to rid the UAE of plastic bags by 2013, she said.
Gulf News started a Say No To Plastic Bags campaign in 2008 to raise awareness to the negative impacts of plastic on the environment. Jute bags were handed out to readers across the UAE before a second campaign, Go Green, was launched in 2009.