Cigarettes butts make up more than half of Irish litter, report finds

More than half the litter on our streets is made up of cigarette butts according to 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.

Over 56% of litter in towns is made up of cigarette ends according to the report, showing an increase in the prevalence of cigarette litter on the previous year.

The findings also show that pedestrians are the main cause of litter (42%) and passing motorists are the second greatest offenders (19%) last year.

However, there was some good news from the report:

  • 15.6% of areas surveyed were litter free, an 2.4% increase from 2016’s results
  • 63.9% of areas surveyed were slightly littered
  • Moderately polluted areas have decreased to 17.1%, compared to 18% in 2016

Minister for Environment Denis Naughten commented on the findings of the report: “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.”

“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,” Minister Naughten added.

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