Over the past 50 years, plastic production has increased 2000 times, and what’s even more shocking is that we are unable to recycle all this plastic and something like 8 million tons of plastic goes into the ocean.
The UAE has been increasingly committed to tackling this problem over the past years, the country has actually implemented regulations and legislation to reduce the use of plastic products and again it shows that the country is very forward thinking.
The popularity of plastic single-use products in the UAE
When it comes to mono-use products, it seems like the most used one in the UAE is the water bottle. It has been estimated that each person uses about 450 bottle water per year. This is also due to the perception that tap water is not safe, which is not true in most of the cases. Campaigns have started to raise awareness on the issue.
Residents in the UAE have been asked if they could live without plastic and their answers were very similar, they all wished to live a plastic-free life, however, they struggled to think about living without a few items part of their daily routines. The items that appeared to be more necessary in these interviews are disposable plates and cutlery, because they are hygienic, easy to carry and save time, so it didn’t look like they could abandon them completely. Luckily, nowadays they can count on disposable items made of biodegradable plastic, which is still allowed in the country and which is eco-friendly.
The UAE plastic ban
In 2013, the Ministry of Environment and Water, enacted a ban on many plastic products, unless they are made of oxo-biodegradable plastic, which is a biodegradable material. This type of plastic decomposes very quickly between 8 to 18 months, compared to the thousands of year for standard plastic. The ban refers to products such as bags, cups, disposable cutlery and plates, and this list is growing continuously.
Not only the standard plastic is banned but also manufacturers and importers of biodegradable plastic products should comply with the UAE regulations.
This ban is a clear declaration of intents from the country to resolve the problem of plastics, many more countries should enact a similar measure to drastically reduce plastic pollution. However, people should not rely on the regulations to live a greener life, every one of us can choose more eco-friendly products for our and future generation’s sake.