In an effort to encourage the use of reusable products, the capital of the United Arab Emirates has initiated a ban on single-use plastic bags.
The Abu Dhabi ban, which went into effect on June 1st, is part of a larger push to safeguard the environment and decrease waste.
The directive was announced on April 6, by the Abu Dhabi Media Office, and is in line with the Environmental Agency – Abu Dhabi’s (EAD) single-use plastic policy that was introduced in 2020.
The ban is, for now, only on single-use plastic shopping bags. There are exemptions for bags designated for medicines in pharmacies, bag rolls for vegetables, meat, fish, chicken, grains and bread, large consumer shopping bags for clothing or electronic gadgets or toys, and waste bags.
EAD is implementing measures to reduce demand for about 16 single-use plastic products that include cups, stirrers, lids and cutlery.
It will also phase out single-use styrofoam cups, plates and food containers by 2024.
It follows a similar announcement from the neighboring emirate of Dubai that it would start applying a 25-fil (6 cent) charge to plastic bags in July, also with the aim of phasing the disposable bags out in two years.
The UAE, a major oil producer and the host of next year’s United Nations climate summit, has declared it aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
Plastic bags are known as one of the most problematic kinds of garbage, polluting streets and waterways and harming birds and marine creatures.