Year-long drive for Abu Dhabi residents to ditch plastic

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Abu Dhabi - Authority recently announced a policy that aims to declare Abu Dhabi free of single-use plastic bags by 2021.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Sun 15 Mar 2020, 9:13 PM

Last updated: Sun 15 Mar 2020, 11:34 PM

The Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) will use the rest of the year to prepare residents for a plastic-free future, top officials have said. The agency will raise public awareness about the impact of single-use plastic on the environment.
The authority recently announced a policy that aims to declare Abu Dhabi free of single-use plastic bags by 2021. It will help reduce the UAE's consumption of 11 billion plastic bags annually. The policy will ban single-use plastic bags and encourage using reusable bags.
On Sunday, the agency said it has teamed up with the relevant government entities to work with retailers and other businesses concerned to cut down on single-use plastic.
"This policy will be implemented over the next two years. 2020 will focus on regulations and awareness for a 2021 application of the policy across Abu Dhabi," Sheikha Al Mazrouei, acting executive director, integrated environment policy and planning at EAD, told Khaleej Times. "Major work on regulations and campaigning will be carried out in 2020 to be ready for implementation in 2021. During this period, we will ensure that all sectors and the community are well-prepared and informed about these measures for smooth implementation."
She said single-use plastic bags that are used for grocery shopping will be banned and replaced with reusable ones. "The emirate will have bags to use but they will be reusable," she said. "Plastic cups and lids; cutlery including spoons, knives, forks and chopsticks; and plates and stirrers will also no longer be available for free. If consumers want these items, they will have to pay a fee. All these targeted items with a fee have sustainable and reusable alternatives. We are not calling to shift from single-use plastics to single-use non-plastic items. Our aim is to shift from single-use to multiple-use culture."
Al Mazrouei explained that consumers will also be able to return single-use bottles for an incentive.
The policy is a "step forward in helping address a significant environmental issue", according to the EAD. "Abu Dhabi is leading the transformation to be a more sustainable community ... We do not want to increase the burden on our citizens but rather enhance sustainable consumption practices."

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