STOCK plastic bag
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Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi will ban the use of single-use plastic bags from June 2022, the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) announced on Wednesday.

The ban is based on the EAD’s integrated single-use plastic policy, which was introduced in 2020. As part of this effort, and along with the ban on single-use plastic bags, the EAD is planning to implement othe measures to reduce demand for 16 other single-use plastic products, including cups, stirrers, lids and cutlery.

The authority is also working towards phasing out single-use Styrofoam cups, plates and containers by 2024.

Combatting climate change

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 pollution, the EAD said in a statement.

New standards

Since the launch of its policy on single-use products in March 2020, the EAD has coordinated extensively with other entities, especially plastics producers and retailers, to ensure effective implementation. New technical standards for multi-use bags have already been set.

Awareness campaign

A large-scale awareness campaign will soon be carried out across the emirate to educate the public on the new procedures, helping to activate the ban on single-use plastic bags from June.

“By launching and implementing the integrated single-use plastic policy, EAD seeks to continue the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed, whose deep passion for preserving the environment inspires us in our sustainability journey. We are extremely eager to continue on our path of reducing the consumption of single-use plastics in Abu Dhabi,” said Dr Shaikha Al Dhaheri, EAD Secretary General.

Encouraging reuse

“As part of our plan to completely curb the use of single-use plastics, we are encouraging Abu Dhabi citizens to use more multipurpose and re-usable materials to reduce their environmental footprint. Today, we are introducing a ban on single-use plastic bags in the capital in light of their harmful impacts on the environment and biodiversity,” she added.

Dr Al Dhaheri said Abu Dhabi has already taken great strides toward realising the policy’s targets, and has built the regulatory framework to ensure the its successful implementation.

“With the support of the UAE government and close collaboration with our stakeholders, we are on the right track towards success,” she added.

Clean-up campaigns

With the aim of implementing the integrated single-use plastic policy, the EAD has already organised multiple clean up events and awareness campaigns aimed at encouraging community members to play a role in protecting the environment. The campaigns also highlighted the damage done by the amounts of single-use plastics and litter, and their impact on beaches and marine habitats.

The EAD is also targeting private sector companies, providing them with tools to effectively plan for the policy’s implementation.

Meanwhile, the EAD has re-engineered its internal procedures to implement the policy and reduce the use of single-use plastics within its scope. Several partners from the government sector have also implemented initiatives to support the policy, while many restaurants are also launching initiatives to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics, and some major retailers are encouraging shoppers to use reusable shopping bags.

Water bottle return

In addition, the EAD is conducting a detailed and holistic study to determine the introduction of an incentive-based, single-use, plastic water bottle return scheme in Abu Dhabi, in partnership with more than 30 private and public entities.

Bans in other places

Single-use plastics are made primarily from fossil fuel–based chemicals and are meant to be disposed of right after use. They are most commonly used for packaging and serviceware, such as bottles, wrappers, straws, and bags.

Earlier this year, Dubai announced that it will introduce a charge of 25 fils for single-use plastic bags from July 1 onwards, with the aim of banning these bags completely in two years’ time.

At present, there are bans on single-use plastic bags in more than 90 countries, and charges on their use in more than 30 nations.