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Monday 5 December 2016

Smokers are 'main cause of country's litter problem'

Published 23/07/2015 | 23:16

Senior little warden checks out a bin on Grafton Street
Senior little warden checks out a bin on Grafton Street

Smokers are the main cause of litter across the country.

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And while pedestrians are the worst single group for litter offences in the capital, motorists, retailers, and fast food outlets, are also big problems for local authorities.

However, there was some good news, with the overall percentage of areas in Dublin classified as “unpolluted” increasing from 13pc in 2013, to 18pc last year.

But fly-tipping and the sight of overflowing bins, is a bigger problem in Dublin, compared to other major urban areas.

Nationally, cigarette butts, fast-food wrappers, and chewing gum, were found to be the biggest sources of litter.

Overall cigarette butts and boxes were the most common type of litter last year, accounting for over 50pc of discarded items.

Packaging and sweet-related material made up nearly 20pc of overall litter pollution, a survey from the Department of the Environment reveals.

The National Litter Pollution Monitoring System study says that just 12pc of the country is classed as “litter free” - a marginal increase of 0.1pc on 2013 results.

A further 64pc of areas surveyed were “slightly littered”, an increase of 1.6pc on 2013.

Environment Minister Alan Kelly said smokers must take greater responsibility to dispose of cigarette butts correctly.

While he said he was pleased with the progress made to date, he stressed that there is no room for complacency in the fight against litter.

He also paid tribute to local authorities and community groups who make “remarkable efforts in keeping our country clean.

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