UAE Banning Single Use Plastic: The United Arab Emirates announced on Tuesday a ban on the single-use of plastic shopping bags to be implemented next year. This initiative is aimed at reducing pollution in the oil-rich nation.
As per the announcement by the state-run WAM news agency, The law would prohibit the production, import and circulation of such bags from January 1, 2024. It follows the introduction made last summer in Dubai for 25 fils charge and a ban on most plastic bags in Abu Dhabi.
A similar ban would also apply to plastic cups, plates and cutlery from January 1, 2026.
The UAE, a primary oil producer and most of this year’s United Nations climate summit, has declared that it aims to get carbon neutrality by 2050, a challenging target.
Plastic bags are known as the most disturbing kind of garbage that pollutes streets and water and also harms birds and marine life.
Plastic takes decades to pollute, and microscopic particles have been found inside the bodies of birds, fish and other animals.
A new perspective on plastics
Habiba Al Marashi, a co-founder and chairperson of Emirates Environmental Group, said that ” the measures deliver a message to the private sector that they have to take more steps to reduce their effect on the environment,” she further added that they had made efforts to reduce plastic bags, like 25 file charge, have been shown by the reports is far.
” In shopping malls, retail outlets, supermarkets and hypermarkets, it is effective as people are now bringing their bags and reusing bags”, she added.
Though Kenzie Azmi, a campaigner at Green peace Meena said that the measures of the UAE are not a “fully fledged ban in single-use plastics, an excellent first step” towards an eventual ban which focuses on eliminating plastics, except for the industries like medicines or food transport, that still required them.
She added, ” These bans are very useful if we know which industries are polluting the most, and start with those, providing sustainable alternatives to the brand materials, such as refill and reuse, that will protect the welfare of people dependent on these sectors”.
Eventually, in 70 years, plastic has transformed the customer culture by improving convenience and by helping in preserving food.
But single-use plastic has continued to pollute the natural environment for centuries, which is alarming.
Plastic waste emitted into the ocean, 2019
WWF, the environmental organization, says that takeaway coffee cups have a duration of 30 years, plastic straws for 200 years and plastic bottles and cups have approximately 450 years.
Plastic and other waste can be toxic, and they can even harm the environment and wildlife. These plastics can be broken down into microplastics that find their way into crops consumed by human bodies.
Even animals take plastics as food by mistake. Many camels in the UAE have died after eating plastic made from plastic bags and rope in their stomachs. These are called polybezoars, which weigh more than 50kg.
Caps on consumption are required
As per Steve Hynd, policy manager of City to Sea ( an organization that campaigns against plastic pollution), to get rid of plastic pollution, the governments should take necessary steps that can reduce the amount of plastic produced and sold, he even stated that ” The most important thing is an over aching method that includes legally binding limits on consumption and production”.
The UAE is introducing a ban, which can be part of the “reduce ” strategy. Many things can be initiated to help businesses reduce plastic use, said Mr Hynd. His organization is working with a hotel chain advising not to put a straw in the drinks served to the customers. Instead, he made the box of straws available for the people to take from and placed the box beneath the back of the serving area so that only customers who asked for a straw could use one.
said that simple and effective measures to “reduce” should be taken to all single-use materials, whatever they are made from.
Apart from this, Ms Azmi said that Wealthier nations should be made to lead a transition to zero waste and help other countries make similar changes. Such an initiative will be included in the global plastics treaty.
She even said, “We need to go back to the old days, which were environmentally friendly. This habit of a disposal society is hazardous”.
Looking at the environmental pollution and harm caused to various living beings, it is advisable to take the initiative to lower the use of plastics. The formula of the three Rs should be implemented, which states, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle to save the environment.