Minister calls on smokers to kick their littering habit
Cigarette butts account for more than half of Ireland's litter problem, with pedestrians and motorists among the worst culprits.
According to the 2017 National Litter Pollution Report, cigarette-related litter - mainly butts - was responsible for more than 56pc of rubbish discarded on the country's streets.
Packaging items like cardboard, paper, bottles and caps, glass and cans comprised 17pc of littering, while food-related items made up 9pc, and sweet wrappers accounted for just under 8pc.
Publishing the report, Environment Minister Denis Naughten said smokers, in particular, could bring about a significant improvement 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."
He added: "The number of areas surveyed across the country deemed to be completely unpolluted from litter stands at 15.6pc, the second highest level ever recorded.
"The results also demonstrate that over 79pc of all areas surveyed in 2017 were deemed to be either litter-free or only slightly polluted, so this is very welcome news."
The report showed that 15.6pc of areas surveyed were litter-free - the second highest level ever achieved and an increase of 2.4pc from 2016.