The policy has been announced in view to reduce the amount of plastic in the environment and foster a culture of recycling and re-use, thus encouraging more sustainable practices in the community.
The policy has been developed in line with international standards and will be implemented over the next two years (2020-21) in coordination with government and private stakeholders, according to a statement in WAM.
Scope of Policy
The policy will also see the development of legislation to limit use of all plastic materials in Abu Dhabi in phases with incentives to target consumption of single-use plastic bags, then introducing fees on some materials, which have available alternatives to prevent distribution of single-use plastic materials free of charge and, finally, achieving a total ban.
The policy has identified 16 most common single-use plastics that cause the largest amount of marine waste (according to global studies) These include plastic bags, beverage cups and lids, plastic cutlery, straws and stirrers and food containers. Plastic bottles will be targeted through the introduction of a plastic bottle return deposit scheme.
Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, said: “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.”
She added: “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.”
In the UAE, 11 billion plastic bags are consumed annually according to a report presented in The World Government Summit in February 2019, 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.