Abu Dhabi has launched the implementation of the single-use plastic bag ban announced earlier in April of this year.
This development comes as part of the tools of an integrated and comprehensive single-use plastic policy developed by Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) in 2020 that will be implemented this year.
Dr Sheikha Salem Al Dhaheri, EAD’s Secretary-General, Mohammed Munif Al Mansouri, Executive Director of the Abu Dhabi Business Centre and Ahmed Tarish Al Qubaisi, Director of the Monitoring and Inspection Department of the Department of Economic Development (DED), and Dr Maryam Hareb Al Suwaidi, Acting Deputy Director General for Operational Affairs of Abu Dhabi Authority for Agriculture and Food Safety (ADAFSA), toured the main retailers in Abu Dhabi to observe and encourage compliance of the single-use plastic bag ban.
First the tour began with Lulu at Mushriff Mall, followed by Spinneys on Muroor Road and Carrefour Airport Road and concluded at Abu Dhabi Cooperative Society located on Muroor Road.
Substitute reusable bags
The retailers were offering as a substitute reusable bags to encourage positive behavioural change by customers and provide them with the opportunity to reuse the bags when needed, to avoid using single-use plastic versions.
Dr Al Dhaheri during the tour, said: “Today is a historic day for Abu Dhabi, as we implement the ban of the use of single-use plastic bags as part of our policy. It was very encouraging to see all the main retailers in the capital adhering to the ban and adjusting their operations to ensure that consumers have environment-friendly alternatives to avoid single-use plastic bags for their groceries. These positive and proactive changes by retailers will allow us to achieve our goal of promoting sustainable living for all residents in Abu Dhabi.”
She added: “The government’s goal with the single-use plastic policy is to provide a more sustainable lifestyle for the citizens, residents and visitors of Abu Dhabi. Similarly, we are aware that change takes time, and we believe the community can take positive steps towards utilising reusable bags as a mean to ensure that Abu Dhabi offers a healthy environment for all. I am optimistic that, in time, Abu Dhabi will serve as a leading city that we will reap positive rewards from boldly taking this step forward for current and future generations.”
Al Mansouri said: “At Added we are committed to provide suitable ecosystem for businesses and consumers, especially their safety and protect our environment. The proactive approach of the Emirate’s major retailers to support the implementation of the Abu Dhabi Single-Use Plastic Policy shows high level of commercial establishment’s awareness about environmental issues and willingness to make a change in line with strategic objectives of Abu Dhabi.”
"We will work closely with EAD to inform the community of Abu Dhabi about non-biodegradable plastic bags and sustainable alternatives, " Dr Al-Suwaidi said.
In addition to being environment-friendly, this initiative promotes community awareness of sustainable consumption of the earth's resources by limiting harmful effects of non-biodegradable plastic bags on human health, other organisms, and the environment, she added
She also encouraged retailers and shopkeepers to abide by the ban on the use of single-use plastic bags and to encourage consumers to react positively with alternatives bags, pointing out that plastic bags are made from non-renewable sources, contribute to global climate change, soil, and water pollution.
Furthermore, Dr Al-Suwaidi stated that Abu Dhabi has a unique position in the field of environmental sustainability, and this initiative will enhance this position to reduce the impact of individuals on the environment and eliminate the excessive consumption of non-biodegradable plastic bags.
Following this ban, EAD will be executing a wide-reaching awareness campaign that will span the emirate of Abu Dhabi to educate residents on available alternatives.
The Agency has worked closely with all relevant stakeholders from the government and private sector to ensure success of the single-use plastic bag ban, experiencing high levels of engagement which will help the policy to bear fruit.
The Agency will continue to work with large retailers and smaller grocery shops to enhance knowledge about the negative effects of single-use plastic bags and provide affordable substitutes.
Recently, a group of senior executives from major retail outlets in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi recently signed a voluntary declaration, committing them to support the implementation of the Abu Dhabi Single-Use Plastic Policy. The leading brands included: Abu Dhabi Co-operative Society and Spar, Carrefour, Lulu Hypermarket, Choithrams, Spinneys and Waitrose.