Cigarette waste accounts for over half of Dublin’s litter, according to Dublin City Council.
Matches, cigarette butts and packets now account for 60pc of Dublin street litter, the National Litter Pollution Monitoring System (NLPMS) found in a report.
The rest of Dublin’s litter is a combination of food related litter (19pc) and packaging items (9pc). Chewing gum was found to be the main food related litter on Dublin streets.
Dublin City Council has rolled out an awareness campaign called ‘Bin the Butt’ in response to the findings. The aim of the campaign is to tackle the growing issue of cigarette litter and to change the behaviour of smokers in Ireland.
A spokesperson for the council said that cigarette litter is “a serious issue” in Dublin city.
“Our cleaning teams out on Dublin’s streets everyday are seeing the implications of this problem and the serious effects it’s having on our beautiful city, both visually and environmentally,” said waste management services officer Simon Brock.
“We are asking the people of Dublin to think twice about throwing their cigarette butts on the ground and see it for what it is- litter. Instead, we want smokers to make a conscious effort to bin their cigarette butt in the nearest bin or suitable container.
“Everyone has a role to play in this serious litter issue and we hope that we can reduce these litter statistics in the future.”
The NLPMS report also found that walking pedestrians are the main cause of litter pollution in Dublin at 61pc. Passing motorists are the second highest offenders at 15pc, followed by retail outlets at 7pc.
Cigarette butts are made from a form of plastic and do not break down quickly. As they are non-biodegradable, they can take up to 12 years to decompose.
A survey by Irish Business Against Litter found that Mountjoy Street, Hanover Lane and Capel Street were the most polluted areas in Dublin in 2017.