'Make UAE Plastic Bags Free' drive gets on - Emirates24|7

'Make UAE Plastic Bags Free' drive gets on

Ministry of Environment and Water and Ministry of Economy are gearing up for rolling out the third phase of the nation-wide initiative 'UAE Free of Plastic Bags' for maintaining natural resources and achieving the environmental security.

The two ministries held a meeting to discuss arrangements for launching the third phase which focuses on cutting down the usage of non-biodegradable plastic bags.

The third phase, which runs until the year-end, aims to educate the community about legislative process and laws that will be enforced to deliver that target.

Consumers will be urged to use environmentally-friendly plastic bags.

Measures to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags will sorted out and a proposal to slap fees on consumers for use of plastic bags will also be considered and referred to the Ministry of Economy's higher committee for consumer protection to define fee structure.

The two ministries will tight the noose on plastic bag factories who failed to register with Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) and consider withdrawal of unregistered and non-compliant products.

This initiative particularly aims for limiting the negative impacts of non-biodegradable plastic bags on human health, other creatures and environment. Such aim will be achieved through cutting down the used quantity of these bags in the UAE as a gradual step for the final prohibition and replacement with the biodegradable plastic bags and the alternative bags.

The initiative has been based on four main phases which would be simultaneously focused. These phases are as follow: The community's education about the initiative and the hazards of non-biodegradable plastic bags.

The community's education about the alternatives of non-biodegradable plastic bags.

The community's education about the legislative processes and the laws that will be enforced.

The enforcement of the initiative's relevant laws and regulations.

Ministry of Environment and Water will organise next April a specialised workshop for plastic bag factories, consumers and supermarkets and malls to educate them about the purposes of the third phase.

The ministry of environment and water issued a decree banning the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags by the end of 2012.

Many studies and scientific research highlight the lethal health damage caused by compounds that are used in the production of plastic materials, especially on children, fetuses and environment as a result of excessive use. The misuse and careless disposal of these materials leads to suffocation, especially among children, and death of wild animals and marine life.

Dr. Rashid Ahmad Bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, ruled that manufacturers and suppliers of plastic bags were to register their biodegradable products in accordance with the Emirates Conformity Assessment System (ECAS). A list of requirements and conditions applicable in this regard and in accordance with the UAE standard specifications (5009:2009) have to be met by the manufacturers.

Current figures stated by the ministry of environment and water for the year 2010, say that the UAE population consumes 11 billion bags per year, of which 46.7 per cent are biodegradable products, and 53.3 per cent are non-biodegradable bags.

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