Bahrain to ban single-use plastic bags from September

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The island kingdom of Bahrain announced Sunday it would start banning the import, distribution and sale of single-use lightweight plastic bags from mid-September, the latest move by an oil-producer to advance carbon reduction goals.

The statement from Bahrain’s state-run news agency did not specify how the upcoming ban would be enforced, whether by fining distributors of the ubiquitous thin bags or charging people for their use.

The ban, to come into effect September 19, “is in line with the government’s plans of securing an environment that supports sustainability and reduces pollution,” said Bahrain’s minister of industry, Zayed bin Rashid Al Zayani. The rule exempts bags that are above a certain degree of thickness and those used for medical purposes and exports.

Bahrain’s move follows those of nearby emirates Dubai and Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates, which recently declared they would get rid of plastic bags in hopes of curbing litter and minimizing greenhouse emissions caused by plastic bag production.

Bahrain followed the UAE and Saudi Arabia last year in declaring it aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 — a target that remains difficult to assess and, crucially, does not involve curtailing oil exports. The kingdom’s economy runs on petrodollars.

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