The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), the largest environmental regulator in the Middle East, said it aims to eliminate the use of avoidable single-use plastic and non-plastic materials by 2021 through fostering a culture of recycling and re-use.
Following in the footsteps of other countries around the world, the new policy is focused on making Abu Dhabi free of single-use plastic bags by 2021.
In the United Arab Emirates (which features seven emirates including Dubai), 11 billion plastic bags are consumed annually.
The scope of the policy includes developing regulations to limit the use of targeted single-use plastics in Abu Dhabi gradually with a phased approach with incentives to target consumption of single use plastic bags through fees and then banning them, introducing fees on single use plastics with available sustainable alternatives and prevent free distribution of such items to the end user.
These include plastic bags, beverage cups and lids, plastic cutlery, straws and stirrers that are going to be subject to fees. Plastic bottles will be targeted through the introduction of a plastic bottle return scheme supported with incentives.
EAD said the policy is part of the Abu Dhabi Government’s efforts to increase sustainability and improve the environment through the ‘Ghadan 21’ £10bn three-year programme driving the emirate’s development through investing in business and innovation, part of the government’s vision for an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable waste management system.
Developed in line with international standards, the policy will be implemented over the next two years (2020-21) in co-ordination with government and private stakeholders and has been prepared with the support of Emirates Nature WWF and other government entities.
Six major outlets and many private sector entities producing plastic materials in Abu Dhabi were also involved.
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.