A recent survey has found that litter has become a real problem in many parts of the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first survey by the Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) group since the advent of the coronavirus found that PPE litter was now widespread.
There was also an increase in cans and glass bottles being littered around towns and cities nationwide.
Dublin's North Inner City and Galvone in Limerick city have been listed as some of the most littered areas in the country.
IBAL said some local authorities had curtailed their cleaning schedules and diverted their resources to other areas since the pandemic began.
The first nationwide litter survey since the Covid-19 crisis shows a dramatic fall in the number of towns and cities deemed to be ‘clean’, to its lowest level since 2007. Find your town here.https://t.co/LSQt6fx39z#litter #litterleague #ibal
— Irish Business Against Litter (@IrishLitter) October 11, 2020
In a report for The Pat Kenny Show, IBAL's Conor Horgan told Newstalk reporter Barry Whyte said their biggest finding in the survey was the number of 'clean' towns has "fallen back significantly".
He said: "It has fallen back about 20% year on year so that's evidence of a certain amount of increased litter right across the country.
"PPE litter is the headline item but it's deeper than that.
"It's litter, its household waste being dumped, it's drink-related litter...and it's a question of fewer people picking up litter on the streets."
He added: "Obviously, people are reluctant to pick up PPE litter, quite rightly for fear of catching the virus, but I think people are thinking twice before touching anyone else's litter, it's the climate we live in.
"I would have a certain amount of fear that if this virus is going to stay with us for a number of years, a different mindset could take hold where people won't pick up other litter casually as they have done.
"That's been fundamental to our towns and cities being cleaner over the last decade."
Mr Horgan said the survey shows there has been little change year on year for the "usual culprits" or disadvantaged urban areas which tend to have the highest levels of litter.
He added there is a concern that the new level of litter becomes the norm and which would "unravel" the good work that had been done in the past ten years.
Barry Whyte said that during a walk through Dublin's North Inner City there was a notable absence in the number of bins on the streets.
Local residents told him there are lots of flats and takeaways in the area but hardly any bins, while dog waste is common on the footpaths.