Manufacturers and suppliers of plastic bags will have to register their products as biodegradable with the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology and meet the requirements of the Emirates Conformity Assessment Scheme (ECAS) before the year-end, according to Ministry of Environment and Water.
According to Arabic newspapers, Dr. Rashid Ahmad bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water said the rule is in line with the policy and strategy of the ministry to protect the nation's environment.
To force people to quit using plastic bags, the ministry is also considering imposing fees. This could be a part of the campaign - UAE free of plastic.
According to latest ministry statistics, 11 billion bags are used per year, of which 46.7 per cent are biodegradable and 53.3 per cent non-biodegradable.
The ministry's strategic plan for 2011 says the aim is to reduce use of non-biodegradable plastic bags by 15 per cent, however, the reduction has surpassed 46 per cent.