The idea has seen a positive response in other countries…
Following countries such as New Zealand, United Kingdom and Ireland, it looks like the UAE could soon introduce a charge for single-use plastic. Items such as carrier bags and plastic cutlery could soon incur a small fee to deter customers from using them.
Shaikha Al Hosani, executive director of the environment quality sector at the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, told The National that the move is ‘in the pipeline’.
Since introducing a five pence (23 fils) charge, England has seen an 80 per cent drop in plastic bag usage. The charge goes towards ‘good causes’ and so far £146.2 million (Dhs671.7 million) has been raised since the introduction in October 2015.
The initiative has already been voluntarily trialled in a few UAE stores, such as Choithrams and Waitrose. If the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change introduce this rule, some businesses will have no choice but to charge customers for a bag, if they require one.
Carrefour recently introduced a range of reusable bags, even offering dedicated check-out counters to customers who have their own or would like to purchase Carrefour’s reusable bags. Costa Coffee also offers perks for customers who bring reusable coffee cups to their outlets.
This year has already seen many of the UAE’s biggest companies bid to ban single-use plastic in the next few months, such as Dubai Airports, Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways. Rather than charging customers for plastic use, they have opted to replace plastic for a more environmentally-friendly material.
Another area of sustainability the Ministry are looking into is fuel consumption. Shaikha Al Hosani, executive director of the environment quality sector at the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, told The National that Abu Dhabi is launching a programme to encourage residents towards more sustainable transportation, such as electric cars.