Increasing plastic pollution has prompted the Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to bring forward the ban of all disposable plastics, except those made from oxo-biodegradable, from 2013 to 2012.

Originally, the ban was proposed to be made effective on 1 January 2013 but concerns about plastic products accumulating in the deserts and the sea, and the effect on the local wildlife, have led the ministry to rethink.

The ban covers all packaging and disposable articles made from plastic polymers derived from fossil-fuels, except those made from oxo-biodegradable plastic, according to the ministry.

The banned products include flexible shopping bags and semi-rigid plastic packaging for food, magazines, consumer-durables, garbage bags, bin-liners for household use, shrink wrap, pallet wrap and cling film.

With the ministry’s official notice, all plastic products will from now on require a ECAS registration certificate issued by the Emirates Authority for Standardisation & Metrology (ESMA), which will be issued only for products made from oxo-bio plastic.

The products have to comply with UAE Standard 5009 of 2009 and must be made with pro-degradant additive from suppliers who have been audited by ESMA.

ESMA will inspect plastic bags and other plastic products at port-of-entry and also conduct factory inspections to ensure full compliance of products being manufactured within the UAE.

Oxo-biodegradable plastic has a controlled lifespan and ability to biodegrade completely either on land or water.