Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, centre, white mask, secretary general of Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, visits Lulu Supermarket in Mushrif Mall on the first day of a ban on plastic shopping bags. Photo Credit: Chris Whiteoak / The National

Environment UAE17. December 2022

This Capital City Is Working Hard to Reduce Plastic Waste (and It’s Working!)

Single-use plastic bags have been banned in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates for the past six months, leading to a 90% decrease in the polluting material’s overall use.

“The single-use plastic policy in Abu Dhabi addresses the issue of plastic pollutants that leak into the environment and cause damage,” states Dr. Shaikha Al Dhaheri, secretary general of the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi. “We are exploring the use of sustainable solutions to solve this challenge in a manner that fully supports the government’s long-term vision for a greener future.”

Since the ban was enforced in June 2022, some 87 million fewer single-use plastic bags have been used, the equivalent of half a million bags per day. The ban forced people to use more sustainable reusable bags that have a lower environmental footprint. The reward-based app Baadr – the Arabic word for “initiate” – has been launched to educate people and encourage them to adopt an environmentally-friendlier way of life. All government agencies received the guide Becoming Free of Single-Use Products: A Guide for Abu Dhabi Government to better implement the single-use plastic policy on their premises. A total of 15 sessions have been held since June to raise awareness of different categories of society – youth and elders, private and public institutions, and industrial and commercial. The next step is to collect some 8,000 tons of plastic bottles over the next five years. In 2022, about 30 million plastic bottles were recovered, more than fourfold the quantity collected in 2021 which was 7.25 million.

The National News

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