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The UAE's Ministry of Environment and Water and Ministry of Economy are preparing for launching the third phase of the nation-wide initiative "UAE Free of Plastic Bags", according to a news story on www.khaleejtimes.com.

The report says the two ministries held a meeting to discuss arrangements for launching the third phase which focuses on cutting down the usage of non-biodegradable plastic bags. It would run until the year-end, with the aim of educating the community about legislative process and laws that will be enforced to deliver that target.

Measures to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags will be carried out and a proposal to charge consumers for use of plastic bags will also be considered and referred to the Ministry of Economy's higher committee for consumer protection to define fee structure, as stated in the report. The two ministries will tight the noose on plastic bag factories who failed to register with Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) and consider withdrawal of unregistered and non-compliant products.

A specialized workshop for plastic bag factories, consumers and supermarkets and malls to educate them about the purposes of the third phase will be organized this April.

Figures from the Ministry of Environment and Water showed that the UAE consumed 11 billion plastic bags in 2010.
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