New year, new ME. Dubai Airports has pledged a ban on single-use plastic across consumer spaces at Dubai International Airport.
The journey has already started – in the past six months, Dubai Airports collected and recycled 16 tonnes of plastic bottles and bottle caps. This commitment goes a step further, prohibiting their use altogether from 1st January 2020.
Contrary to the core message of the song ‘Barbie Girl’ – “life in plastic” is not “fantastic.” It’s a substance that is filling up our refuse sites and oceans with degradation-resistant materials. The culture of dependence on these synthetic polymers is one of the most urgent challenges to the environment that we face today and one that was recently highlighted as part of World Environment Day.
Many UAE agencies and organisations are already on-message. Emirates Environmental Group has collected 21,000 tonnes of recyclable waste since its inception in 1997.
Since last year’s ‘Plastic Free July’ we’ve started to see even more welcome changes. Several homegrown and international brands have similarly pledged to eliminate plastic waste from their stores. Food delivery apps Deliveroo and Zomato now give you an easy way to opt out of cutlery too.
Dubai hotel chain Rove runs a campaign offering 50 per cent off the dining bill in its Daily restaurants in exchange for 20 plastic bottles per person.
Indonesian eco-friendly company Avani is distributing a biodegradeble alternative to plastic bags in the UAE. The cassava-based products have recently been ‘bagged’ for use by Virgin Megastores, helping them phase-out single-use whacky placcy from stores.
There is a still a long way to go and the airport’s task will be a big one – it sees traffic of over 90 million passengers a year. But if its willing to take up the challenge, there is no excuse for the rest of us.