The United Arab Emirates has taken the bold step of banning all disposable plastic products except those made from oxo-biodegradable plastic
The ban has been brought about because of worries about plastic pollution accumulating in the deserts and the sea, and its effect on the local wildlife. By Decree77/5 plastic bags and other plastic products had been prohibited as of this year - ahead of previous plans.
Oxo-biodegradable plastic, with its controlled lifespan and its ability to biodegrade completely either on land or water, has proved popular across the Middle East.
The Official Notice covers not just plastic bags, but all packaging and disposable articles made from plastic polymers derived from fossil-fuels. These include but are not limited to, flexible shopping bags and semi-rigid plastic packaging for food, magazines, consumer-durables, garbage bags, bin-liners for household use, shrink wrap, pallet wrap, cling film etc and other articles normally used over short periods and subsequently discarded.
From now on, all plastic products will need an ECAS Registration Certificate issued by ESMA (Emirates Authority for Standardisation & Metrology). However, these will be issued only for products made from oxo-bio plastic. These products must be made with pro-degradant additive from suppliers who have been audited by ESMA and they have to comply with UAE Standard 5009 of 2009.
ESMA announced that plastic bags and other plastic products would be inspected at port-of-entry and that consignments without an ECAS Registration Certificate would be impounded and appropriate action taken by the authorities.
ESMA will also conduct factory inspections to ensure full compliance of products being manufactured within the UAE.