Since June 1, 2022, the emirate of Abu Dhabi has reduced the use of single-use plastic bags in retail stores by 87 million.
According to the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency, the total number of single-use plastic bags used has decreased by more than 90%, or the equivalent of half a million bags per day.
Abu Dhabi banned single-use plastic bags to protect the environment and address the high rate of plastic bag use across the UAE, which is almost four times the global average.
According to figures released by the World Government Summit in February 2019, the UAE uses 11 billion plastic bags each year.
According to estimates, approximately 13 million tonnes of plastic enter the world’s oceans each year.
The organization claimed that since then, more environmentally friendly reusable bags have become popular.
Routine inspections by various government agencies revealed that more than 80% of outlets offer environmentally friendly options or charge a fee for reusable plastic shopping bags.
The agency’s secretary general, Dr Shaikha Al Dhaheri, stated that reducing single-use plastic consumption will reduce emissions and assist the waste sector in diverting 80 percent of municipal solid waste in Abu Dhabi away from landfills.
“Abu Dhabi’s single-use plastic policy addresses the issue of plastic pollutants that leak into the environment and cause harm,” she explained.
“We are investigating the use of sustainable solutions to address this issue in a way that fully supports the government’s long-term vision for a greener future.”
The agency has also distributed to all government agencies a guide titled Becoming Free of Single-Use Products: A Guide for Abu Dhabi Government, which details how to implement the commitment contained in the single-use plastic policy.
Since June, the EAD has held 15 awareness sessions, targeting various groups of youth, public and private sector institutions, as well as industrial and commercial sectors.
It has also launched an app called Baadr, named after the Arabic word for “initiate,” which aims to educate, encourage, and reward users who want to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
The agency also stated that it is collaborating with 30 private and public entities to create a recovery system that will collect and recover approximately 8,000 tonnes of plastic bottles over the next five years, with the bottles going directly to the emirate’s recycling sector.
More than 30 million plastic bottles were recovered in 2022, compared to 7.25 million bottles in 2021, and more than 10 tonnes of plastic, equivalent to approximately 850,000 bottles, is collected weekly.
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