Cigarette butts account for more than half the litter on our streets according to the Minister for Environment Denis Naughten who has published the 2017 National Litter Pollution Report.
The Report by the Department’s Litter Monitoring Body reveals the extent, causes and composition of litter across the country. The main findings show that nationwide cigarette related litter accounts for over 56% of litter in our towns and communities. This is mainly made up of cigarette ends.
The Report shows an increase in the prevalence of cigarette litter on the previous year. At 17 percent, packaging items such as cardboard, paper, bottles and caps, glass and cans are the second largest litter component, while food related items at nine percent make up the third most common litter cause, including chewing gum. Sweet related items, such as wrappers and crisp bags stand at under eight percent - the fourth largest component.
The Report also shows that pedestrians are the main causes of litter at 42% and passing motorists are the second largest cause accounting for 19% in 2017.
‘The 2017 Report shows that the number of areas surveyed across the country deemed to be completely unpolluted from litter stands at 15.6 percent, the second highest level ever recorded. The results also demonstrate that over 79 percent of all areas surveyed in 2017 were deemed to be either litter free or only slightly polluted so this is very welcome news.
I would like to commend the Local Authorities, who work closely with the communities they serve and are continuing to make progress in the on-going battle against litter pollution across the country. Each of us has personal responsibility and a role to play in keeping the towns, villages and cities we live in litter free. Smokers in particular can bring about a significant improvement in the litter situation through relatively minor behavioural changes. Everyone must accept that, ultimately, it is their own actions that will ensure whether or not we live in a litter free environment.’
Minister Naughten added, ‘While I am pleased with some of the results, which are very encouraging, there is more work to be done to ensure that the environment is protected from litter. We need to focus our efforts to maintain the improving standards being achieved across the country. A combination of awareness, education and enforcement is required in order to successfully combat our litter challenges.’