Ireland's towns continue to get cleaner but the main cities are still littered according to the latest survey by business group Irish Business Against Litter.

Areas of Dublin, Cork and Limerick occupy the six lowest positions in the table of 40 areas surveyed.

75% of towns and cities were found to be as clean as, or cleaner than European norms.

Kilkenny and Cavan were once again Ireland's cleanest towns, followed by Killarney, Tramore and Longford.

They were among 18 towns deemed to be cleaner than the European average.

By contrast, Cork city, Limerick city, Dublin city, Tallaght, Dublin north inner city and Farranree in Cork were at the bottom of the table.

The survey shows a clear disparity between cities and towns.

IBAL puts this down to residents' associations and tidy towns groups compensating for the scarcity of resources in local authorities in many towns, whereas these groups are often absent in cities.

The survey found that sweet papers were by far the most common form of litter, followed by cigarette butts, fast food wrappers and chewing gum.