Following on from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Bahrain has decided to ban single-use plastic starting from September 19.

On the heels of Earth Day, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism (MoICT) announced the ban on the manufacture, import, sale and circulation of single-use plastic – that is under 35microns in thickness; an example of this is the thin, light-weight plastic bags that you get at cold stores. Plastic bags that are more than 35microns thick, including trash bags, those manufactured for export purposes and those used for medical purposes will be exempt from the ban, which will come into force on September 19.

A similar announcement was made some years ago but nothing materialised. This time though, the Kingdom is determined to enforce the ban in keeping with its efforts toward carbon reduction and sustainability. Bahrain is preceded by Dubai and Abu Dhabi which also declared a curb on plastic use to reduce the pollution and greenhouse gas emissions caused by it.

Last year, during the COP 26 climate summit, Bahrain pledged net-zero emissions by 2060 to protect the environment. It was also among the 47 countries that committed to developing climate-resilient, low-carbon health systems, which means a health system that can anticipate, respond to, cope with and recover from climate-related shocks and stress leading to sustainable improvements in general health. Furthermore, sustainability is a principle of the Bahrain Economic Vision 2030, which focuses on the environment and waste management among other related issues such as biodiversity, marine conservation and sustainable resource management. Plastic severely hampers the environment and is a waste management nightmare. The decision to ban single-use plastic will contribute toward the Kingdom’s commitment to sustainability and reducing pollution.

Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Zayed bin Rashid Al Zayani said that the MOICT held stakeholder engagement sessions especially with the private sector through the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He added that the conducted surveys showed that all local factories intend to manufacture multi-use plastic bags that are more than 35 microns in thickness. The survey also showed that 86% of these local factories would continue to manufacture plastic products that are exempt from the new regulation or alternatives to the banned single-use bags.✤