Abu Dhabi moves to restrict single-use plastics

New York uses some 23 billion plastic bags every year, according to the state government. 

File: A plastic bag seen on a bicycle. AFP/Timothy A Clary

ABU DHABI - Restrictions on single-use plastic bags took effect in the United Arab Emirates capital Abu Dhabi on Wednesday as part of its efforts for a "greener future".  

The "single-use plastic bags ban starts today... to encourage sustainable living in Abu Dhabi", the emirate's media office said. 

"Retailers in the emirate are encouraged to offer environmentally friendly reusable bags with a nominal fee to encourage positive behavioural change in the community, and support emirate-wide efforts for a greener future."

There are exemptions for medicine bags, bag rolls for produce in supermarkets, rubbish sacks and large brand name shopping bags.

The restrictions come as the UAE prepares to host the COP28 global environmental conference in 2023, having set a target to become carbon neutral by 2050, in line with goals set by the COP26 conference in Britain last year.

Dubai, one of the seven other emirates that make up the UAE, has also announced it is ending the free provision of single-use plastic bags.

The decision is scheduled to come into force at the start of July.

Like its Gulf neighbours, the UAE's economy is largely dependent on fossil fuels.

A report submitted to the World Government Summit in Dubai in February 2019 said the UAE consumes 11 billion plastic bags a year, the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi has said.

Abu Dhabi is the capital and wealthiest of the seven emirates that make up the UAE.


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