UAE – The city of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has imposed a ban on single-use plastic bags and materials from 1 January 2024.

The decision was made during a Sharjah Executive Council (SEC) meeting chaired by Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and deputy chairman of the SEC.

Retailers across Sharjah will be banned from trading, producing, offering and importing single-use plastic bags and materials under the ban.

The council has also encouraged stores to replace plastic bags with multi-use bags and materials that meet the Department of Municipalities Affairs’ technical specifications and standards.

Starting from 1 October, retail establishments in the emirate must charge a minimum fee of 25 fils (6 cents) for all single-use plastic bags and materials.

The shops will also begin informing the consumer of the tariff imposed on the consumption of single-use plastic bags and materials, raising awareness of their risks, and guiding them to use and provide appropriate alternatives.

The decision aims to protect the environment by mitigating plastic pollution, as well as encourage sustainability and a culture of environmental protection.

In preparation for the full ban, stores in Sharjah will impose a minimum charge of 25 fils on all single-use plastic bags and materials from 1 October this year.

The Khaleej Times reported that the Department of Municipal Affairs has also been commissioned to develop plans and policies for enforcing the ban.

In addition, the department will organize programs to create awareness and educational programs on the importance of shifting from consuming single-use plastic bags and materials to consuming other sustainable and multi-use alternatives.

The announcement comes after UAE’s capital city, Abu Dhabi, banned single-use plastics from 1 June, with an aim to phase out single-use Styrofoam cups, plates and food containers by 2024.

Dubai also started applying a 25-fil (6 cents) charge to plastic bags in July this year, also with the aim of phasing the disposable bags out in two years.

With this announcement, UAE joins other nations to ban single-use plastic bags. In July this year, India introduced a ban on the production, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of identified single-use plastic items across the country.

In May, the Vietnamese Government was reported to be considering imposing sanctions on plastic bags sold at markets across Vietnam by 2030.

Manufacturers were said to be looking into making changes to technology to meet government regulations and address the growing demand for packaging solutions.

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