The Emirates Authority for Standardisation & Metrology (Esma) has completed setting the terms and conditions of specifications for the manufacture of environmentally-friendly and biodegradable bags.
Manufacturers must adhere to these, said by Khaled Al Sa’adi, Director of Education and Awareness at the Ministry of Environment and Water.
Al Sa’adi confirmed that by January 2013, the UAE, after applying such specifications, will be the first Arab country free from non-biodegradable plastic bags.
A ministerial decree issued by the Ministerial Council for Services on World Environment Day in February, issued the deadline.
Al Sa’adi said the initiative includes four stages. The first has been, completed and required increasing awareness of school and university students of the dangers of the use of plastic bags on humans, animals and the environment.
The second stage started on Monday and lasts until mid-2011. It includes raising awareness in the community of using alternatives of from environmentally friendly materials such as jute, paper and cotton.
The third and fourth phases, which continue across to 2012, focus on identifying the target audience of legislation, relevant laws and initiatives as well as ways and tools for the application of those laws.
A national committee was formed recently and comprises representatives from the ministry, municipalities and civil society institutions to follow up the implementation of the initiative.
Al Sa’adi disclosed the completion of manufacturing of 10.000 bags of jute - which is friendly to the environment, in collaboration with Union National Bank.
He also revealed the completion of the animated three-dimensional message that illustrates the risks of using non-biodegradable plastic bags and its bad effects on the environment of desert and marine life.
According to a study conducted by the Ministry of Environment and Water, 83 per cent of the public know that there are many alternatives to plastic bags.