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Wed 30 Mar 2016 12:16 PM

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UAE should implement ban on plastic bags, says FNC

All non-biodegradable plastic bags were supposed to be phased out by the end of 2012, ahead of a full-scale ban from 2013

UAE should implement ban on plastic bags, says FNC
(Image for illustrative purpose only - Getty Images)

A 2013 ban on plastic grocery bags in the UAE has yet to be properly implemented, the Federal National Council (FNC) said on Tuesday.

FNC members urged UAE government ministers to step up action to ban plastic bags under a law that was scheduled to be enacted in 2013, according to local media.

All non-biodegradable plastic bags were supposed to be phased out by the end of 2012, ahead of a full-scale ban from 2013.

But supermarkets are still failing to cut down on their use, with an estimated 13 billion bags used by customers each year, the FNC claimed.

One member representing Dubai, Marwan Ahmed bin Galita, told the council it was “frustrating” that retailers have failed to take responsibility, reported 7Days.

“It’s frustrating that supermarkets and grocery stores are still not supporting the journey towards less plastic in the UAE,” he said.

“Shops need to train their staff to reduce the use of plastic – not increase it.”

And Hamad Ahmed Al Rahoomi, who also represents Dubai, said: “Plastic bags pose a big danger to the environment, including wildlife.

“It’s more than six years since a decree to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags was issued. But rules haven’t been enforced.”

Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Ziyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, responded to the FNC’s concerns by claiming the government has run a series of campaigns, for example in schools, to implement a ‘Plastic-Free UAE’ and also said biodegradable plastic carrier bags were compulsory in supermarkets.

“The move to reusing bags in place of plastic will continue, with a number of awareness programmes aimed at various segments of the population,” he said.

In Europe, various countries have introduced successful policies to reduce production and use of plastic bags. In the UK, plastic bag usage in supermarket giant Tesco’s stores dropped 78 percent since the introduction of a five pence charge last October, it was reported in December.

And Ireland’s €0.15 levy has reportedly led to a 90 percent reduction in consumption.

In 2011, when the new UAE law was being prepared, it was said that the country produces 95 percent of the plastic bags used in the country and around five per cent is imported.

There were said to be around 100 manufacturers and suppliers of bio- or oxobiodegradable additives awaiting approval from the authorities.

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Marita Peters 4 years ago

Why can't supermarkets in the U.A.E. charge for plastic bags as well? This is the only way to make people stop using them and remember to bring their reusable bags otherwise people have no motivation.

james 4 years ago

No need to ban them, charge for them like other countries are doing.
Give the proceeds towards local charities.
This might mean some people would always pay and is a win-win for all.