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More Must Be Done to Tackle Litter Pollution – Matthews

Deputy Steven Matthews, Green Party TD for Wicklow has said that we must keep the pressure on for a cleaner and litter-free Ireland following the publication of the National Litter Pollution Monitoring System (NLPMS) results for 2021. The National Litter Pollution Monitoring System is an environmental management tool that enables Local Authorities to tackle litter more effectively, through providing statistical data on the extent, causes and make-up of litter around Ireland.

Discussing the results and highlighting the vital role played by communities across Wicklow in tackling litter pollution, Deputy Matthews said:

“I welcome the news that the percentage of polluted areas around Ireland has decreased over the last year. However, the small increase in overall pollution shown in these results reminds us that we must build on the hard work already done in order to eradicate the presence of litter on the streets of towns and villages across Wicklow. The results published today highlight areas that pose a challenge to litter prevention in Ireland. Cigarette-related litter continues to be the largest single category of litter pollution in the locations surveyed, at 48.4%.

“I, along with my Green Party colleagues are determined to tackle this issue head on. I am encouraged to see that chewing gum litter has continued to fall – from a high of 30.8% in 2008 to 9.1% in 2021. I would like to commend my party colleague Minister Ossian Smyth on the work his Department continues to undertake, engaging with representatives from the chewing gum industry to deal with this aspect of on- street littering.

“I would also like to acknowledge and thank the many community groups in Wicklow, including the Pure Mile Project, that have dedicated so much time and resources towards dealing with the problem of litter in towns and villages across the county. In recent months I have had the pleasure of meeting with a number of these groups and have seen first-hand the valuable work they do to create a more pleasant environment for us all to live in.” Deputy Mathews concluded.


The National Litter Pollution Monitoring System results for 2021 reveal that:

● The percentage of unpolluted (LPI 1) and slightly polluted (LPI 2) areas combined has decreased slightly (by 0.5%) from 2020 to 2021, showing a slight overall increase in national litter pollution from 2020 to 2021.

● Grossly polluted areas (LPI 5) have decreased from 0.5% in 2020 to 0.3% in 2021.

● The main constituent elements of litter pollution nationwide in 2021 were:

○ cigarette-related litter (48.4%);

○ packaging items (20.4%);

○ food-related litter (11.2%); and

○ sweet-related litter (8.7%).

● The main causative factors of litter pollution nationally were identified as follows:

○ passing pedestrians (40.9%);

○ passing motorists (22.4%);

○ retail outlets (8.3%);

○ gathering points (6.2%); and

○ schools / school children (4.6%).


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