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90% reduction in the use of plastic bags in Abu Dhabi

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The Environment Agency in Abu Dhabi is moving forward in implementing its commitment to declaring the Emirate of Abu Dhabi free of single-use plastics, by achieving the objectives of the single-use plastics policy in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and reducing the use of these materials, and shifting to the use of more sustainable, high-impact alternatives. Less environmental, and increased awareness to encourage and accelerate this positive shift in consumer behavior.

Since the implementation of the ban on the use of single-use plastic bags in Abu Dhabi on the first of last June, a team of inspectors from the Environment Agency in Abu Dhabi, the Department of Economic Development, and the Abu Dhabi Authority for Agriculture and Food Safety began carrying out joint inspection tours of outlets in the emirate to determine the extent of their compliance with the decision to ban Single-use plastic bags, monitoring what is happening in the market, and educating sales outlets on the importance of implementing the ban and replacing them with multi-use bags with technical standards approved by the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council.

These inspection tours showed a commitment to implementing the ban on single-use plastic shopping bags, and providing alternatives in most of the sales outlets included in the tours.

The information collected by the authority from sales outlets indicated that since the implementation of the ban, the number of plastic shopping bags has been reduced by more than 90%, as more than half a million bags are provided daily as of June 1, bringing the total number of plastic bags that have been provided since Then to more than 87 million single-use plastic bags.

More than 80% of the sales outlets are committed to voluntary fees, including the main retail outlets in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which had signed a voluntary declaration committing to support the implementation of the single-use plastics policy in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and to secure alternatives, resources and financing to support environmental protection, reduce The quantity of plastic materials banned in its outlets in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

These entities have committed themselves to implementing the Abu Dhabi government’s declaration banning single-use plastic bags, and collecting a price from customers of their outlets for each reusable alternative plastic shopping bag. This step aimed to avoid the use of bags where possible and to reuse them whenever necessary.

Sheikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of the Environment Agency in Abu Dhabi, said, “The single-use plastics policy in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi addresses the issue of plastic pollutants that leak into the environment and cause damage to it. The policy also puts this issue on the path of sustainable solutions to achieve the emirate’s vision. By reducing consumption For single-use plastics, the policy has contributed to reducing emissions in line with the UAE Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement. Achieving the policy objectives will also help achieve the current waste sector target by diverting 75% of Abu Dhabi’s municipal solid waste from landfills.” .

She pointed out that what has been achieved so far in the field of switching to environmentally friendly consumption patterns confirms the commitment of the various segments of society to support the efforts made by the Abu Dhabi government to preserve the environment.

She stressed that setting a one-time plastics policy and taking a number of measures and initiatives came after taking into account various environmental, economic and social considerations. The society and the response of its various segments to the new procedures contributed to achieving these results, which exceeded expectations, noting that the authority is moving forward in cooperation with sales outlets and the private sector, and with the support of other government agencies, in order to reduce the consumption of these materials and limit their leakage into the environment.

In order to ensure that the policy achieves its objectives and the participation of the various segments of society, the authority coordinates with the concerned authorities to prepare and implement programs to educate and educate community members about the importance of shifting from consuming single-use materials of all kinds, to consuming durable and multi-use alternatives whenever possible, and many initiatives are being implemented Awareness within its community initiative “Together Towards Zero”, which targets various segments of society and government and private institutions.

In this context, the Authority continuously implements awareness sessions targeting government institutions and private sector companies and provides them with tools that enable them to develop plans to implement the policy. During the last period, the authority succeeded in disseminating the guide, which it prepared in both Arabic and English, entitled Towards a Government Free of Single-Use Materials, to 100% of government agencies and reaching more than 3,000 government employees who were included in the introductory sessions, in which the focus was on ways to implement the commitment contained in Policy, to declare Abu Dhabi free of plastic and non-single-use plastic items.

In addition, 15 awareness sessions were organized targeting different groups of youth and institutions in the government and private sectors, as well as in the industrial and commercial sectors, where the total number of participants reached 3,550 people. In addition, 25 awareness materials about the Together Towards Zero campaign were developed and shared with schools and the Authority’s partners from retailers, online delivery stores and platforms, and 7 procedures were added to the Badir application that the Authority recently launched as a free environmentally friendly application designed to change the environmental behaviors of Abu Dhabi residents, citizens and residents. And motivate them to be leaders in the process of positive transformation.

The authority focused its efforts during the last period on working, in partnership with more than 30 private and public entities, to develop a recovery system based on incentives that contributes to the collection and recovery of about 8,000 tons of plastic bottles over the next five years, and to provide them to the recycling sector in the emirate, which contributes to promoting This vital sector is parallel to reducing the presence of these products in the environment. Reducing the consumption of these materials is a major goal of the policy and its tools, in order to reduce the environmental impacts caused by these wastes.

It is noteworthy that in 2022 more than 30 million plastic bottles were recovered compared to 7.25 million bottles in 2021, and more than 10 tons of packages are currently collected per week, or approximately 850 thousand bottles per week.