Abu Dhabi: The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) made the announcement as part of a new policy to reduce single-use plastics. The announcement is made to make the emirate free of single-use plastic bags by 2021.
This policy will be implemented over the next two years. The policy is developed in line with international standards, it will be organized in coordination with government and private stakeholders. In support of Emirates Nature WWF and 12 other government entities, including the Department of Economic Development the policy is well planned and implemented.
According to a report submitted in February 2019, at the World Government Summit, 11 billion plastic bags are used annually in the UAE. Which is the equivalent of 1,184 plastic bags per person per year compared to a global average of 307 plastic bags per person per year?
Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General of the EAD, said: “The launch of the single-use plastics policy reflects our steadfast commitment towards transitioning to a more sustainable economy that seeks to minimize 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 materials by 2021.”
“Six major outlets and many private sector entities producing plastic materials in Abu Dhabi were also involved,” the agency said.
HOW TO ACCOMPLISH THIS
The scope of the policy includes developing legislation to limit the use of all plastic materials in Abu Dhabi gradually with a phased approach with incentives to target consumption of single-use plastic bags.
Abu Dhabi’s vision is for an environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable waste management system. The policy identifies the 16 most common single-use plastics that cause the largest amount of marine waste according to global studies. This will be targeted to varying degrees during the new policy implementation.
Which include plastic bags, beverage cups and lids, plastic cutlery, straws and stirrers, and food containers. For Plastic bottles the introduction of a plastic bottle return deposit scheme.
The secretary-general of Environment Agency, Dr. Al Dhaheri said: “If we do not take bold steps to contain the use of single-use plastics through influencing behavior 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.”
“An estimated 13 million tone 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.”
Studies show that 36 percent of the global production of single-use plastics is not recycled and globally more than 400 million tones of different types of plastics are produced every year.
Because of high consumption rates and low recycling operations, by 2050 it is expected that for every three tones of fish in the ocean, there will be one tone of plastic.