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Dubai to phase out single-use carry bags in two years, imposes tariff to discourage the circulation

Petrochemical industry | 04 Jul 2022 18:13 IST | Polymerupdate.com

In a bid to phase out single-use plastic (SUP) completely in two years, Dubai has taken its first step to curb the use of carry bags in all forms and introduced 25 fils (US$ 0.065) tariff on them beginning July 1, 2022. Abu Dhabi was the first place in the Middle East to implement a single-use plastic ban from June 1, 2022.

Leaving the retailers to decide on the quantum of tariff levy depending upon the quality of raw materials used and the after-use treatment, the authority in Dubai has imposed a tariff on all carry bags made of plastic, paper, biodegradable and compostable materials that are less than 57 micrometres (a micrometre is one-thousandth of a millimetre) thick. Retailers have been granted four months to switch to alternative materials.

The Executive Council of Dubai has approved the policy in this regard. With this, the tariff has become applicable across all retail stores throughout Dubai including grocery, restaurants, electronics, pharmacies, online stores, textile, and e-commerce deliveries. The tariff is likely to reduce the use of single-use carry bags for enhancing environmental sustainability and encourage individuals to reduce their use in day-to-day life.

Following this tariff, the Executive Council will assess the behavioural changes in the community. To reduce the environmental footprint a change in individuals’ behaviour is crucial to preserve natural resources and environmental habitats. The applicable tariff will ultimately contribute to a healthier environment, which is vital to maintaining a sustainable and high quality of life.

In a recent interview, Imad Juma Mohammed, Studies and Permit Section manager at Dubai Municipality, said, “The move is aimed to phase out single-use bags from the system altogether. Our government is conscious of the welfare of future generations across all sectors, as is evident in the determined efforts of the UAE and Dubai to protect the environment and make Dubai a leader in sustainability.”

The tariff on the use of single-use bags in Dubai is aimed at strengthening sustainability in the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in line with global best practices for reducing the consumption of single-use bags. According to reports, the tariff on single-use bags is applicable in over 30 countries. Additionally, single-use carry bags are currently partly or fully banned in over 90 countries around the world which calls for an urgent need for a reduction in the consumption of single-use carry bags.

Meanwhile, the tariff on single-use bags has helped raise the prices of cotton and jute bags exponentially in Dubai from the levels of 50 fils (US$ 0.13) to Dirham (Dh) 12 per piece which works out to US$ 3.26 for every large size bag. The tariff order does not oblige to offer free alternatives as the overall goal is to drive a change in consumer behaviour in order to preserve the environment for future generations in Dubai, the Council said.

The order, however, empowers the retail stores to levy different tariffs on biodegradable and compostable materials used for manufacturing single-use carry bags. Retailers have been allowed to replace the existing inventory of single-use carry bags with alternative environment-friendly materials in four months.

Alternatively, the Dubai municipal authority has provided with shoppers to use thicker traditional-look plastic bags, which can have enough strength to be used between four to 10 times and can later be recycled the paper bags, and sturdy ‘bag for life’ –type reusable jute, cotton or woven alternatives materials. Hypermarkets have already started phasing out plastic carry bags with paper bags or jute or cotton bags that can be used several times.

Meanwhile, scores of studies have proved a close connection between the quality of the environment and the sustainability of life. Studies paid special focus on the impact of air, water, and soil quality on the physical health of the earth's habitat and felt the need for a healthier environment for a better quality of life on this planet for which immediate action is required.

A report presented at the World Government Summit 2019, said the UAE uses 11 billion plastic bags each year, which stands at three times the global average when considering their use per person.

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