Going green? UAE considers banning plastic bags to seek more eco-friendly options

Published March 30th, 2016 - 06:00 GMT
The UAE's environment ministry began an initiative to ban disposable plastic bags nearly seven years ago. (Shutterstock)
The UAE's environment ministry began an initiative to ban disposable plastic bags nearly seven years ago. (Shutterstock)

The UAE may see a ban on the use of plastic bags this year, members of the Federal National Council (FNC) heard on Tuesday.

As many as 13 billion plastic bags are consumed in the UAE each year, and hence FNC members urged for swift action by the Ministry of Environment (MoE) to abolish non-decomposable bags and called for alternative environmental-friendly products.

Hamad Ahmad Al Rahoumi, member from Dubai, questioned Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, on the initiative, which has been in place since 2009.

"In October 2009 an initiative was launched by the Ministry of Environment to make the UAE free of plastic bags," he said. "Yet, this initiative has not reached its goal, despite the fact that it's been six years."

Al Rahoumi pointed out that it's crucial to take swift action on the matter, as the UAE consumes as many as 13 billion plastic bags each year.

Al Zeyoudi responded comprehensively, highlighting that the MoE has introduced a number of programs that aim to abolish the use of non-decomposable products in the country.

He also noted that various initiatives and programmes have been introduced which will help reduce the number of plastic products and will be accomplished in coordination with shops and supermarkets.

"The MoE will push the parties concerned, companies and shops to find alternatives to plastic bags."

Programmes are also being introduced in schools to educate children about the negative impact of plastics and non-decomposable products on the environment, he added.

Through these initiatives, the Ministry of Environment aims to complete the goal of a plastic-bag free nation this year.

Al Rahoumi however, debated Al Zeyoudi and urged for the initiatives to be implemented rapidly and seriously.

"It is our job to follow up on this issue and on the initiatives that you have introduced, so that it is not just published in the media for attention. Instead, we need to actually see the goal come to life," he pointed out.

By Jasmine Al Kuttab


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