x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Government offices make switch to metric system

The UAE officially switches to the metric system of measurements, an internationally recognised system, from today.

DUBAI // Yards, feet and inches give way to metres today as the UAE officially moves to metric length measures to reduce confusion for consumers and businesses.

The Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (Esma) has been working at having government offices and business shift to the International System of Units (SI).

"We have been working hard for a number of years to bring this standard to the country," said Mohammad Ahmad Al Mulla, the director of metrology at Esma.

"We have been working with land departments to get them to use metres and petrol companies have already switched from gallons to litres at the pump [in January]."

Today's change reflects only the conversion from feet to metres, Mr Al Mulla said.

The complete SI measurements are in seven areas: length, mass, time, light, heat and current.

Mr Al Mulla said Esma was also talking with utilities to change from gallons to litres in water measurements, a change he expected to happen next year.

"Many organisations had already moved to SI before today," he said. "The supermarkets, for example, have been using kilograms for a while now.

"It will take some time for people to get used to the new system, but that is to be expected."

nhanif@thenational.ae