Abu Dhabi announced plans today to eliminate single-use plastic bags by 2021. The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) confirmed the move, which includes accelerating a sustainable circular economy for plastics.
Her Excellency Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, said: “The launch of the single-use plastics policy reflects our steadfast commitment towards transitioning to a more sustainable economy that seeks to minimise waste and protect vital ecosystems in our environment.
“By implementing this new policy, Abu Dhabi will be joining more than 127 countries around the world that have already taken measures to ban or limit the use of disposable plastic materials. Our policy is aligned with international standards in order to make Abu Dhabi a pioneer in reducing the use of avoidable single use plastic and non-plastic materials by 2021.”
According to a report released at last year’s World Government Summit, 11 billion plastic bags are used in the UAE every year, some 1,184 per person, as opposed to 307 per person globally.
Emirates Nature WWF, along with key government bodies and private stakeholders will come together to deliver a two-year plan in Abu Dhabi designed to lead a waste revolution in the region. Incentives such as charging for single use plastics, before they are banned, are among the policies EAD plan to implement.
Her Excellency added: “An estimated 13 million tonnes of plastic enter the world’s oceans annually, altering vital habitats, endangering marine wildlife and impacting the food chain by releasing toxic chemical compounds. This issue is a grave concern for the preservation of our local species, posing a threat to our marine wildlife, sea turtles and seabirds, among others. Our policy responds to this global issue.”
“If we do not take bold steps to contain the use of single-use plastics through influencing behaviour and effective waste management, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans and seas by 2050 – creating lasting impacts on, not just ocean health, but ultimately human health and global food security.”