The decision by Dubai Airports (DXB) to ban single-use plastics from its consumer spaces with effect from January 1, 2020, needs to be welcomed with gusto. With about 90 million passengers making a footfall in the airport annually, the cumulative impact of eliminating single-use plastics is of enormous import. This is one more deep-impact effort by Dubai in combating the plastic waste crisis that is afflicting our entire planet, and consequently the health and welfare of every species on earth.
In Dubai alone, the annual usage of plastic bags in 2017 was an estimated 3.6 million, a 25 per cent increase over the 2.9 million figure Dubai Municipality released in 2013. Of the 3.6 million tonnes of domestic waste generated by Dubai in 2017, 30 per cent was plastic.
These untenable numbers are being taken seriously as Dubai Municipality’s war on waste, especially plastic waste aims to achieve the strategic goal of diverting 75 per cent of waste from landfills by 2021. Every single-use plastic straw, spoon, plate and fork, every single-use plastic bag, bottle and container, is a wanton indulgence on our part. These plastic toxicities are entirely unnecessary and utterly dispensable and, in fact, our future depends on their annihilation. If we don’t eliminate them, they could well eliminate all our chances for a healthy life.
Every time we buy a single-use plastic item and discard it with staggering impunity, we are setting up a domino effect that ends in swelling the earth’s heaving, festering landfills and further choking our already breathless oceans.
The images of hundreds and thousands of marine animals being strangled, poisoned, injured and sickened to death by plastic waste dumped into the oceans is a real-time streaming service that we have subscribed to as a default consequence of our dependence on single-use plastics.
As more countries (Canada and Bahrain being the latest examples) and blocs (such as the EU) begin to ban single use-plastic, every entity in the UAE that uses single-use plastic in its supply chain would do well to emulate the example set by Dubai Airports.
There is no time to ponder and waste. The menace of plastic pollution is staring us in the face: we must snatch back our future from this calamity.
We need to reject single-use plastic. Period.
We need to start today, we need to start now.