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Sunday, 28 May 2023
Abu Dhabi: A ban on single-use plastic bags comes into force today
A ban on single-use plastic bags in Abu Dhabi comes into force on June 1 - Photo: Khaleej Times

Citizens and residents in Abu Dhabi have given their thumbs up to the ban on single-use plastic bags that comes into effect from today (June 1), and are buying reusable ones for a fee of 50 fils.

The policy aims 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 shared by the World Government Summit in February 2019, 11 billion plastic bags are used in the Emirates each year.

Dr Shaikha Al Dhaheri, secretary general of Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, said last week: “This is equivalent to 1,182 plastic bags per person annually. This is considered a very high rate compared to the global average of 307 bags per person annually."

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. All photos: Chris Whiteoak / The National

People will either have to bring their own or pay for a reusable bag, which will be for sale in stores and supermarkets. No single-use plastic bags will be available, even at a charge.

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Reusable bags start from 50 fils and there are several options from Dh1, Dh2.5 to Dh7.5. Major retailers like Abu Dhabi Co-operative Society, Carrefour, Lulu Hypermarket, Spinneys among others have all joined the campaign.

A UAE study showed plastic has caused the deaths of hundreds of camels since 2008.

About 10 per cent of the 30,000 camels studied by Dubai’s Central Veterinary Research Laboratory died due to polybezoars, which are lumps of indigestible material made of plastic.

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Polybezoars can weigh up to 53kg and include plastic bags, rope and parts of plastic bottles, which accumulate over the years when the animals eat the materials after mistaking them for food.