Shop owners should charge customers for every plastic bag and give them an alternative so they can replace them with paper or recyclable bags. Randi Sokoloff / The National
Shop owners should charge customers for every plastic bag and give them an alternative so they can replace them with paper or recyclable bags. Randi Sokoloff / The National

Plastic bag use must be curbed



Plastic may seem convenient. It’s durable, cheap and easy to manufacture. It’s unsurprisingly the first choice for single-use items. But its environmental cost has long been established. Discarded plastics are a leading cause of pollution in seas, rivers, beaches and, in this part of the world, deserts. Global statistics show that plastic pollution is the cause of death for 100 million animals every year.

Developed countries have introduced legislation to protect the environment from such impact. Some banned single-use plastic shopping bags all together, while others introduced charges. Both the ban and taxation have been successful in remarkably reducing plastic bag use and the overall volume of plastic bag waste going to landfill. They also been changed behaviour as shoppers were more motivated to bring their own bags to the grocery store or supermarket.

In the UAE, there have been calls to follow these steps, most recently by Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Nuaimi, nephew of the Ajman Ruler who is known as the Green Sheikh. As The National reported yesterday, he said that shop owners should charge customers Dh1 for every plastic bag and give them an alternative so they can replace them with paper or recyclable bags.

Supermarkets and cooperatives in the UAE are known for their excess use of plastic bags and it’s so normal for a customer to get a plastic bag for each item. This has, unfortunately, helped foster a culture of high plastic bag consumption. Many people use them without questioning whether they really need them or their environmental cost.

A cultural shift can, and should, happen gradually. Supermarkets and cooperatives have to minimise the number of plastic bags being used. They should also have an incentive to move towards more environmentally-friendly options, such as paper, bioplastic or biodegradable bags. Introducing a fee may nudge people to use only what they need. Along with that, there should be more efforts to educate people about the dangers of plastics and the proper disposal and recycling of plastic products.

From Europe to the Middle East, economic success brings wealth - and lifestyle diseases

A rise in obesity figures and the need for more public spending is a familiar trend in the developing world as western lifestyles are adopted.

One in five deaths around the world is now caused by bad diet, with obesity the fastest growing global risk. A high body mass index is also the top cause of metabolic diseases relating to death and disability in Kuwait, Qatar and Oman – and second on the list in Bahrain.

In Britain, heart disease, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s remain among the leading causes of death, and people there are spending more time suffering from health problems.

The UK is expected to spend $421.4 billion on healthcare by 2040, up from $239.3 billion in 2014.

And development assistance for health is talking about the financial aid given to governments to support social, environmental development of developing countries.

Company profile

Name: Steppi

Founders: Joe Franklin and Milos Savic

Launched: February 2020

Size: 10,000 users by the end of July and a goal of 200,000 users by the end of the year

Employees: Five

Based: Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai

Financing stage: Two seed rounds – the first sourced from angel investors and the founders' personal savings

Second round raised Dh720,000 from silent investors in June this year

What is dialysis?

Dialysis is a way of cleaning your blood when your kidneys fail and can no longer do the job.

It gets rid of your body's wastes, extra salt and water, and helps to control your blood pressure. The main cause of kidney failure is diabetes and hypertension.

There are two kinds of dialysis — haemodialysis and peritoneal.

In haemodialysis, blood is pumped out of your body to an artificial kidney machine that filter your blood and returns it to your body by tubes.

In peritoneal dialysis, the inside lining of your own belly acts as a natural filter. Wastes are taken out by means of a cleansing fluid which is washed in and out of your belly in cycles.

It isn’t an option for everyone but if eligible, can be done at home by the patient or caregiver. This, as opposed to home haemodialysis, is covered by insurance in the UAE.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

MATCH INFO

Delhi Daredevils 174-4 (20 ovs)
Mumbai Indians 163 (19.3 ovs)

Delhi won the match by 11 runs

Avatar (2009)

Director: James Cameron

Stars: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver

Rating: 3/5

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

The Facility’s Versatility

Between the start of the 2020 IPL on September 20, and the end of the Pakistan Super League this coming Thursday, the Zayed Cricket Stadium has had an unprecedented amount of traffic.
Never before has a ground in this country – or perhaps anywhere in the world – had such a volume of major-match cricket.
And yet scoring has remained high, and Abu Dhabi has seen some classic encounters in every format of the game.
 
October 18, IPL, Kolkata Knight Riders tied with Sunrisers Hyderabad
The two playoff-chasing sides put on 163 apiece, before Kolkata went on to win the Super Over
 
January 8, ODI, UAE beat Ireland by six wickets
A century by CP Rizwan underpinned one of UAE’s greatest ever wins, as they chased 270 to win with an over to spare
 
February 6, T10, Northern Warriors beat Delhi Bulls by eight wickets
The final of the T10 was chiefly memorable for a ferocious over of fast bowling from Fidel Edwards to Nicholas Pooran
 
March 14, Test, Afghanistan beat Zimbabwe by six wickets
Eleven wickets for Rashid Khan, 1,305 runs scored in five days, and a last session finish
 
June 17, PSL, Islamabad United beat Peshawar Zalmi by 15 runs
Usman Khawaja scored a hundred as Islamabad posted the highest score ever by a Pakistan team in T20 cricket

How to play the stock market recovery in 2021?

If you are looking to build your long-term wealth in 2021 and beyond, the stock market is still the best place to do it as equities powered on despite the pandemic.

Investing in individual stocks is not for everyone and most private investors should stick to mutual funds and ETFs, but there are some thrilling opportunities for those who understand the risks.

Peter Garnry, head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank, says the 20 best-performing US and European stocks have delivered an average return year-to-date of 148 per cent, measured in local currency terms.

Online marketplace Etsy was the best performer with a return of 330.6 per cent, followed by communications software company Sinch (315.4 per cent), online supermarket HelloFresh (232.8 per cent) and fuel cells specialist NEL (191.7 per cent).

Mr Garnry says digital companies benefited from the lockdown, while green energy firms flew as efforts to combat climate change were ramped up, helped in part by the European Union’s green deal. 

Electric car company Tesla would be on the list if it had been part of the S&P 500 Index, but it only joined on December 21. “Tesla has become one of the most valuable companies in the world this year as demand for electric vehicles has grown dramatically,” Mr Garnry says.

By contrast, the 20 worst-performing European stocks fell 54 per cent on average, with European banks hit by the economic fallout from the pandemic, while cruise liners and airline stocks suffered due to travel restrictions.

As demand for energy fell, the oil and gas industry had a tough year, too.

Mr Garnry says the biggest story this year was the “absolute crunch” in so-called value stocks, companies that trade at low valuations compared to their earnings and growth potential.

He says they are “heavily tilted towards financials, miners, energy, utilities and industrials, which have all been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic”. “The last year saw these cheap stocks become cheaper and expensive stocks have become more expensive.” 

This has triggered excited talk about the “great value rotation” but Mr Garnry remains sceptical. “We need to see a breakout of interest rates combined with higher inflation before we join the crowd.”

Always remember that past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Last year’s winners often turn out to be this year’s losers, and vice-versa.

AT A GLANCE

Windfall
An “energy profits levy” to raise about £5 billion in a year. The temporary one-off tax will hit oil and gas firms by 25 per cent on extraordinary profits. An 80 per cent investment allowance should calm Conservative nerves that the move will dent North Sea firms’ investment to save them 91p for every £1 they spend.
A universal grant
Energy bills discount, which was effectively a £200 loan, has doubled to a £400 discount on bills for all households from October that will not need to be paid back.
Targeted measures
More than eight million of the lowest income households will receive a £650 one-off payment. It will apply to households on Universal Credit, Tax Credits, Pension Credit and legacy benefits.
Separate one-off payments of £300 will go to pensioners and £150 for those receiving disability benefits.

Bahrain GP

Friday qualifying: 7pm (8pm UAE)

Saturday race: 7pm (UAE)

TV: BeIN Sports

Star Wars: Ahsoka

Director: Various
Starring: Rosario Dawson, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Lars Mikkelsen
Rating: 4/5

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home. 

SHAITTAN

Director: Vikas Bahl
Starring: Ajay Devgn, R. Madhavan, Jyothika, Janaki Bodiwala
Rating: 3/5

The National selections

Al Ain

5pm: Bolereau
5.30pm: Rich And Famous
6pm: Duc De Faust
6.30pm: Al Thoura​​​​​​​
7pm: AF Arrab​​​​​​​
7.30pm: Al Jazi​​​​​​​
8pm: Futoon

Jebel Ali

1.45pm: AF Kal Noor​​​​​​​
2.15pm: Galaxy Road
2.45pm: Dark Thunder
3.15pm: Inverleigh​​​​​​​
3.45pm: Bawaasil​​​​​​​
4.15pm: Initial
4.45pm: Tafaakhor

UAE rugby in numbers

5 - Year sponsorship deal between Hesco and Jebel Ali Dragons

700 - Dubai Hurricanes had more than 700 playing members last season between their mini and youth, men's and women's teams

Dh600,000 - Dubai Exiles' budget for pitch and court hire next season, for their rugby, netball and cricket teams

Dh1.8m - Dubai Hurricanes' overall budget for next season

Dh2.8m - Dubai Exiles’ overall budget for next season

ALRAWABI SCHOOL FOR GIRLS

Creator: Tima Shomali

Starring: Tara Abboud, Kira Yaghnam, Tara Atalla

Rating: 4/5

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

AUSTRALIA SQUAD

Tim Paine (captain), Sean Abbott, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner

SPEC SHEET: SAMSUNG GALAXY Z FLIP 4

Display: Main – 6.7" FHD Dynamic Amoled 2X, 2640 x 1080, 22:9, 425ppi, HDR10+, up to 120Hz; cover – 1.9" Super Amoled, 512 x 260, 302ppi

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, 4nm, octa-core; Adreno 730 GPU

Memory: 8GB

Capacity: 128/256/512GB

Platform: Android 12, One UI 4.1.1

Main camera: Dual 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2) + 12MP wide (f/1.8), OIS, portrait, super slo-mo, hyperlapse

Video: 4K@30/60fps, full-HD@30/60fps, HD@30fps; slo-mo@240/960fps; HDR10+

Front camera: 10MP (f/2.4)

Battery: 3700mAh, 25W fast charging, 15W wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, 'all-day' life

Connectivity: 5G; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC (Samsung Pay)

I/O: USB-C

Cards: Nano-SIM + eSIM; no microSD slot

Colours: Bora purple, graphite, pink gold, blue; Bespoke Edition in select countries

In the box: Flip 4, USB-C-to-USB-C cable

Price: Dh3,799 / Dh3,999 / Dh4,449

The specs: 2018 Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic HSE

Price, base / as tested: Dh263,235 / Dh420,000

Engine: 3.0-litre supercharged V6

Power 375hp @ 6,500rpm

Torque: 450Nm @ 3,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Fuel consumption, combined: 9.4L / 100kms

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

Dengue fever symptoms

High fever (40°C/104°F)
Severe headache
Pain behind the eyes
Muscle and joint pains
Nausea
Vomiting
Swollen glands
Rash

Results

6.30pm Madjani Stakes Rated Conditions (PA) I Dh160,000 1,900m I Winner: Mawahib, Tadhg O’Shea (jockey), Eric Lemartinel (trainer)

7.05pm Maiden Dh150,000 1,400m I Winner One Season, Antonio Fresu, Satish Seemar

7.40pm: Maiden Dh150,000 2,000m I Winner Street Of Dreams, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson

8.15pm Dubai Creek Listed Dh250,000 1,600m I Winner Heavy Metal, Royston Ffrench, Salem bin Ghadayer

8.50pm The Entisar Listed Dh250,000 2,000m I Winner Etijaah, Dane O’Neill, Doug Watson

9.25pm The Garhoud Listed Dh250,000 1,200m Winner Muarrab, Dane O’Neill, Ali Rashid Al Raihe

10pm Handicap Dh160,000 1,600m Winner Sea Skimmer, Patrick Cosgrave, Helal Al Alawi