The city of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is to ban single-use plastic bags and materials from 1 January 2024, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) has reported.

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

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 organise programmes to create awareness of multi-use and environmentally friendly bags among residents.

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 has also banned single-use bags for carrying goods as of 1 July this year.

In May this year, 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 growing demand for packaging solutions.