Naas has been crowned Ireland's cleanest town for 2021 by business group Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL).
Its latest survey of 40 towns and cities showed nationwide litter levels having risen slightly, with cities again faring particularly badly.
PPE litter was found to be at its highest level since the pandemic began.
Naas finished ahead of Portlaoise and Ennis to its first win in the annual rankings.
The 'spotless' waterside environment at Harbour View, Fairgreen Recycle Facility and Shopping Arcade off North Main Street came in for particular praise.
There was a slight fall in the number of clean towns nationwide to 22.
At the bottom of the table, Dublin's north-inner city showed some improvement but was branded a litter blackspot.
The worst areas included the Canal at Spencer Dock, Crinan Strand and Aldborough Place.
Galvone in Limerick city improved significantly, rising six places in the rankings - but the urban areas of Ballymun, Tallaght and Cork northside all fell back.
IBAL spokesperson Conor Horgan told Newstalk Breakfast Naas deserved its win.
"It's the first time Naas has taken the title, and a very worthy winner.
"There was a virtual absence of litter in the town according to the An Taisce report.
"Naas comes out on top ahead of Portlaoise and Ennis; another Kildare town, Leixlip, is in fourth and Arklow in fifth.
"These are all consistent performers, there's no surprises here - this has all been hard earned work to get to the top of our league".
But he says while towns top the table, cities have not fared so well.
"If you go back five or six years, the main city centres of Dublin, Cork, Limerick: they were all clean.
"Now they're all littered or heavily littered - there's quite a gap between our towns and cities, and it seems to be increasing".
On PPE litter, he says this is just accumulating - especially in urban areas.
"Of the hundreds of sites that were visited across the country in recent months, 33% of them had PPE litter present.
"That's quite significant - if that PPE litter wasn't there, we'd have a better picture across the country.
"That PPE is staying on the ground, people aren't picking it up, it's only accumulating.
"So every survey we've had since COVID has shown that problem to be worse and worse.
"And that may be a particular issue in cities where you don't have the Tidy Towns coming along and doing their work in quite the same way".