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Monday 21 October 2019

Pain in the butts: Cigarette ends now make up more than half of all our litter

Dirty: Littering could be halved if cigarettes were disposed of correctly, says Minister Richard Bruton. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Dirty: Littering could be halved if cigarettes were disposed of correctly, says Minister Richard Bruton. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Evie Kearney

Cigarette butts make up more then half of all litter in Ireland, a new report has revealed.

The National Litter Pollution Monitoring System (NLPMS) report shows that cigarette-related litter accounted for 54.4pc of waste pollution across 31 local authorities last year.

The report has also shown that passing pedestrians are the worst offenders of contributing to pollution in both rural and urban areas.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton said littering could be "halved" if cigarette butts were disposed of correctly.

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

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

Nationally, pedestrians were responsible for the most amount of litter (42pc), followed by passing motorists (22.4pc) and retail outlets (9.4pc).

In the Dublin City Council area, passing pedestrians fared even worse, contributing to 61.4pc of all litter pollution.

Green Party councillor Michael Pidgeon said that littering was a "real scourge" on the city. "Whether it's dog poop left on the street or wrappers ditched in a gutter, it really takes away from our city," he said.

"In Dublin City, we hand out about 1,500 fines a year. Unfortunately, thanks to weak national legislation, the majority go unpaid."

The report also found that 64.5pc of surveyed areas were just slightly polluted.

Irish Independent

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