Contrary to what you may have heard, life in plastic is not fantastic…

Our dependency on plastic negatively affects our oceans, food chains and air quality – and, ultimately, it has the potential to impact the health of every organism in our ecosystem.

In the UAE, we’ve already seen individual brands and government entities pledging to cull single-use plastic, but Environment Agency — Abu Dhabi (EAD) has just announced one of the most comprehensive policies yet.

On March 9, the EAD detailed a raft of measures specifically designed to drastically reduce the use of non-sustainable plastic in the capital.

The ambition is that Abu Dhabi will ban all single-use plastic bags by 2021, which is a monumental commitment given our current misuse of them. The UAE’s consumption of plastic bags is currently more than three times the global average, with a total of around 11 billion bags annually.

Abu Dhabi will also pioneer strategies to add levies to single-use plastics, where sustainable alternatives are available, with the final phase of policy application resulting in an outright ban of these products.

This includes items such as packaging, straws, cups, lids and stirrers. The EAD also confirmed it would be rolling out a plastic bottle recycling scheme across a range of retail sites.

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These proposals fall under the umbrella of ‘Ghadan 21,’ Abu Dhabi Government’s programme to drive the economy in synergy with sustainability and the environment.

Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of the Environment Agency — Abu Dhabi, provided a reminder of the importance of proactive behaviour:

“The launch of the single-use plastics policy reflects our steadfast commitment towards transitioning to a more sustainable economy that seeks to minimise waste and protect vital ecosystems in our environment.”

“If we do not take bold steps to contain the use of single-use plastics… there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans and seas by 2050”

Leaving a habitable world for future generations is the very least all of us should be striving for.

Image: Getty