Environment Minister Denis Naughten says litter from cigarette butts needs to be addressed
The Environment Minister is planning to increase the fine for those who are caught throwing littering.
Denis Naughten says the on-the-spot fine is going to increase from €150 to €250 for anyone who is caught.
It comes as new figures released by the Government show that cigarettes account for more than half of littering on Irish streets.
The 2017 National Litter Pollution Report shows cigarettes make up 56% of litter in our towns and communities.
The second largest litter component - packaging items such as cardboard, paper, bottles and caps, glass and cans - accounts for 17% of litter.
Food-related litter - including chewing gum - is the third most common litter source.
Pedestrians are the main cause of litter at 42%, followed by passing motorists at 19% and retail outlets at 10%.
The report also shows that 15.6% of areas surveyed were litter free - the second highest level ever achieved, and up 2.4% compared to the 2016 results.
The percentages of both moderately and significantly polluted areas have decreased slightly.
Speaking about the report, Environment Minister Denis Naughten said the results are encouraging - but more work needs to be done.
He observed: "Each of us has personal responsibility and a role to play in keeping the towns, villages and cities we live in litter free. Smokers in particular can bring about a significant improvement in the litter situation through relatively minor behavioural changes."
He added: "Cigarette butts are still a continuing form of litter that needs to be addressed.
"Because of that now we're going to increase the on-the-spot litter fine from €150 to €250 for someone caught throwing litter on the ground."