x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Ministry makes movie about peril of plastic bags

The Ministry of Environment and Water will release an animated film promoting eco-friendly alternatives to plastic bags.

Looking for better ways to illustrate the environmental cost of plastic bags, the Ministry of Environment and Water will release an animated film promoting eco-friendly alternatives. The move is part of a larger campaign, the Emirates Free from Plastics initiative, to educate the public about the damage caused by bags that do not biodegrade. Consumers in the UAE use about two billion plastic bags a year, though they will be banned by 2012.

The film will promote reusable bags and depict the threat of plastic to natural resources and wilderness, especially grazing animals and aquaculture, Khalid Al Sa'edi, director of the department of awareness at the ministry, said in a press release. Eighty-five per cent of UAE residents say they have heard or read about the detrimental effects of plastic bags, but fewer than half do anything about it, according to a survey released this week that was commissioned by the ministry.

Still, 93 per cent said they would support efforts to reduce their use. About two-thirds said they use fewer than 20 plastic bags a week, and more than half said they reused their plastic bags. Millions of birds and marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags, which take centuries to decompose. Ministry officials say they are just beginning to roll out efforts to educate residents. About 35,000 biodegradable bags will be handed out next month to visitors to the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference.

econroy@thenational.ae