Cigarette butts make up half of Ireland's litter 4 months ago

Cigarette butts make up half of Ireland's litter

"We seem to have a blind spot for this behaviour."

Cigarette butts left on the ground make up over half of all instances of littering in the country.

A report by the National Litter Pollution Monitoring System, launched by Richard Bruton, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, on Friday showed that cigarettes still remain a large source of our litter problem.

The report details that cigarette-related litter makes up 54.4% of all litter in Ireland while packaging items (18.2%), sweet-related litter (9.2%), food-related litter (8.9%), paper items (5.8%), and deleterious litter (2.1%) were the other main litter constituents identified nationally.

Speaking at the release of the NLPMS Report, Bruton said it had highlighted the areas that need more attention.

"Thinking twice about how we handle waste is the first step to respecting our environment and the planet we inhabit, Bruton said.

"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."

The main causes of litter were identified as:

  • Passing pedestrians (42%)
  • Passing motorists (22.4)
  • Retail outlets (9.4%)
  • Gathering points (6%)
  • Places of leisure and entertainment (4.7%)
  • Fast food outlets (3.9%)
  • Schools/school children (3.5%)
  • Bus stops (2.6%)
  • Fly-tipping/illegal dumping (2.2%)