Cigarette butts now make up more than half of all our litter.
A report by the National Litter Pollution Monitoring System has found that pedestrians are the worst litterbugs.
The report, published by Environment Minister Richard Bruton, looks at the extent, causes and composition of litter in Ireland.
The report found that the main elements of litter in Ireland are:
- Cigarette related litter (54.4%)
- packaging items (18.2%)
- sweet related litter (9.2%)
- food related litter (8.9%)
- paper items (5.8%)
- deleterious litter (2.1%)
It found that the main causes of little are:
- Passing pedestrians (42.0%)
- passing motorists (22.4%)
- retail outlets (9.4%)
- gathering points (6.0%)
- places of leisure/entertainment (4.7%)
- fast food outlets (3.9%)
- schools/ school children (3.5%)
- bus stops (2.6%)
- fly-tipping/dumping (2.2%)
Mr Bruton stated: “Thinking twice about how we handle waste is the first step to respecting our environment and the planet we inhabit.
“Littering could be halved if cigarette butts were properly disposed of.
We seem to have a blind spot for this behaviour – it is six times more prevalent than sweet papers.
“Overall the survey shows some promising results. We see an increase in unpolluted areas and a decrease in slightly and significantly polluted areas.
“These results are thanks to the vigorous efforts made by individuals, community groups and Local Authorities in keeping their local area clean.
“However we do also see a very slight increase in the amount of grossly polluted areas, with cigarette related litter remaining the largest offender.
“The amount of chewing gum litter has halved since 2016, thanks in no small part to the co-operation between my Department and industry through the Gum Litter Taskforce.”