efe-epaSydney, Australia

Tuvalu, a small island nation in the South Pacific, has banned single-use plastics from Thursday, as a measure to deal with the accumulation of garbage on its 26-square-kilometer territory.

Plastic bottles under 1.5 liters as well as plates, cutlery and plastic food wrappers are among the items banned by the Ministry of Environment from Aug. 1 in order to alleviate pressure on the garbage dump on Fongafale, the main island, according to Radio New Zealand.

The measure took effect ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum which will be held from Aug. 13 to 16 in Tuvalu and where some 600 dignitaries and officials are expected.

Tuvalu, from the beginning of August, also imposes new tax on the import of large items such as refrigerators or vehicles to finance their shipment abroad once they are scrapped.

The Tuvalu landfill is located at the northern end of Fongafale, where the capital Funafuti is located and most of the nation’s inhabitants live. It has the ocean on one side and the atoll's lagoon on the other.

Authorities fear that it is the accumulation of waste that has led to the proliferation of algae in the lagoon.

wat/igx/uw/tw