Dubai: Retailers informs shoppers to No to follow the new rule on plastic bags


Dubai: Major retailers on Monday said they are fully committed to support the latest move towards sustainability that will see a 25fils tariff on single-use plastic shopping bags from July followed by a complete ban within two years in Dubai.

V. Nandakumar, Director – Marketing & Communications, Lulu Group, said: “We are fully aligned with the vision of moving away from single-use plastic bags throughout our stores and online shopping. In fact, we have been very aggressively promoting reusable shopping bags for last two years, with an aim of achieving our goals of ‘zero’ single-use plastic bag by 2023. We also intend to roll out a new campaign to increase customer awareness in this regard.”

E-commerce deliveries included

On Monday, The Executive Council of Dubai said the move comes “to limit single-use bags to enhance environmental sustainability.” Restaurants, pharmacies and e-commerce deliveries are included in the new rule.

Kamal Vachani, Group Director and Partner, Al Maya Group, said: “The newly announced [tariff] is a great decision to enhance environmental sustainability. There will be a good impact on the environment. Al Maya Group welcomes this initiative, and we are ready to support Dubai for all efforts to save the environment.”

Naresh Kumar Bhawnani, founder and chairman of West Zone Group, said the upcoming tariff will go a long way in saving the environment. “It will help reduce plastic consumption by 25 percent. However, there is another side to this: Going by the demographics of the population that lives in the UAE, many people are bachelors. They will [initially] not be able to manage with a [reusable] carry bag… But I think it is all about a mind-set change and after a while we will see everyone coming in with their own carry bags.”

Vasu Shroff, Chairman, Regal Group, said: “The government’s decision will help the environment in a big way. While it may seem a difficult task in the beginning, slowly and gradually people will reset their needs to use plastic bags. In fact this decision will go a long way in creating a sustainable world. Our landfills have been dumped with plastic waste and it is not good for our environment. We are on the right path towards creating a sustainable environment.”

Frequent reminder

Shoppers also welcomed the move, saying the development will also serve as a frequent reminder towards our shared environmental responsibility.

Indian expat Simran Sabharwal, 47, said: “This is a very positive move as it will act as a sound reminder to be more disciplined and environment conscious to carry our own reusable bags. I welcome the initiative whole heartedly.”

She added: “The consumption [of single-use plastic bags] should reduce significantly – not just because of the additional cost factor but also because it will be a constant reminder of our responsibility towards our future generation.”

Tracey Inglis, who is from New Zealand, is already using her own fabric reusable bags for shopping at supermarkets and shops. “[Some] retailers in the UAE had banned plastic bags then reintroduced them. People need to think of the impact plastic has not only on humans, but also on animals, including those that live in the sea,” said Inglis, 51.

Dubai: Single-use plastic bags will be charged 25fils at checkout counters in all stores in Dubai from July 1 onwards, The Executive Council tweeted on Monday.

The move comes “to limit single-use bags to enhance environmental sustainability”, it said. Restaurants, pharmacies and e-commerce deliveries are included in the new rule.

As a subsequent step, the policy will be evaluated over several stages until single-use carrier bags are completely banned within a span of two years, following the assessment of behavioral changes in the community.

The tariff on single-use bags is currently in effect in over 30 countries, and a partial or complete ban has been implemented in more than 90 countries globally, reflecting the magnitude of international efforts to reduce the consumption of single-use bags.

The new policy includes an awareness drive to encourage consumers towards sustainability.

Support for change 

The council said that according to a survey, 50 per cent of the community segregates waste in their homes today. It added that support for changing practices around the use of single-use plastic bags, whether by introducing a total ban or the imposition of a traffic, has reached 85 per cent of the emirate’s community, including all nationalities and 100 per cent of businesses.

Ongoing efforts

Over the years, the public and private sector in the UAE have introduced several initiatives to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags.

Businesses are prohibited from printing on non-biodegradable plastic bags. Some supermarkets offer shoppers reusable bags – made of cloth, jute or insulation materials – at nominal cost to offset the use of disposable plastic bags. A few of them had even charged for the use of plastic bags.

Students meanwhile regularly highlight the environmental problems of plastic bags during school and community projects, with a number of interschool environment-themed contests held during the year.

Clean-up drives in deserts and the waters off the UAE coast are also regularly held, helping save wildlife and marine life while also raising more awareness.

Environmental protection

In line with the environmental objectives set out in the National Agenda, dedicated government entities have implemented programmes to enhance environmental protection and resource conservation. These include an integrated waste management strategy for the emirate; reducing harmful fishing practices such as banning the use of nets; and the enforcement of fees for waste disposal beginning January 2022, which significantly helps reduce waste production and dumping of waste in landfills.

The Dubai Government has also invested in several projects aimed at turning waste into resources. Furthermore, the government actively encourages the Dubai community to improve practices in sustainable waste segregation and disposal. These efforts contribute to providing a healthy environment as well as the conditions to encourage investments in sustainable waste and resource management, in line with the principles of a circular economy. These waste management efforts will fundamentally promote economic, environmental, and social sustainability while building an ecosystem that preserves natural resources, and supports the adoption of a green, low carbon economy in alignment with the Dubai Waste Management Strategy 2041, and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals announced by the United Nations for 2030.

Did you know?

-400 years is the period required for plastic bags to decompose and thousands of years are required to mitigate their negative environmental impacts

-86 per cent of dead turtles found on some of the emirates’ shores had consumed plastic materials

-50 per cent of camel deaths in the UAE are due to the consumption of plastic bags

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