Litter on NI streets and parks highlighted in report

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Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said the survey gives "great insights" into littering trends

More than one in seven streets and parks across Northern Ireland have failed to meet acceptable standards for litter, according to an environmental charity.

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful also found that only 3% of the places surveyed were litter free.

Of the 2,040 sites surveyed in 2013, 315 had unacceptably high levels of litter and/or dog fouling.

Cigarette butts were the most common type of litter.

The next most common type of litter was confectionary and items from drinks, such as bottle tops or tin cans.

Dr Ian Humphreys, chief executive at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, said: "The survey gives us great insights into littering trends and what is very clear is that we need to inspire people across Northern Ireland to reflect on their littering habits and take action and responsibility to take pride in the places they live in and love."

The report compared littering across different land-uses and found that rural areas were more than four times more likely to be heavily affected by litter than urban areas.

Every type of litter observed in the survey was less frequent in lower density residential areas compared to higher density residential areas.

For example, takeaway packaging, drinks containers and non-packaging litter were all recorded about twice as often.

Dog fouling was significantly more common in recreational areas. It was observed on 33% of beaches and in 25% of public parks.

Fouling was also reported to be significantly more common in Northern Ireland than in either Scotland or Wales.

Dog fouling was also more commonly observed in winter than in summer, which the report attributes to the perception that people are less likely to be seen not clearing up on the darker evenings.

Dr Humphreys said the environmental charity was preparing to launch a new campaign to tackle the issue.

"Live Here Love Here will focus on building a sense of civic and community pride through a high-profile multimedia campaign and local support for positive practical action," he said.

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful recently revealed that littering on Northern Ireland's beaches was "widespread" - one beach was found to have more than 10,000 pieces of litter per km.