Discarded face masks, coffee cups and other pandemic-related material are continuing to have an impact on littering levels across the country.

The latest survey from Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) shows that for the first time in 13 years, less than half of the 40 towns and cities surveyed across Ireland are deemed 'clean'.

This is a fall of over 25% on last summer, and a sharp contrast to three years ago, when 80% of towns and cities were clean.

Coffee cups and Personal Protective Equipment are among the most prevalent litter items being spotted, with IBAL claiming those items are partly down to the pandemic, but also down to the disregard held for the consumer's surroundings.

Kilkenny was named the cleanest town for the fifth time in a row, followed by Killarney, Ennis and Tullamore.

Meanwhile, Dublin North Inner City and Ballymun were deemed 'seriously littered' at the bottom of the table.

While there were no 'blackspot' counties or towns in 2020, there were 36 blackspot sites within towns, of which 11% improved from the first half of the year.

IBAL spokesperson Conor Horgan said: "Covid is clearly a factor here, but we should never accept litter as inevitable.

"It comes down to people disposing of their waste without regard for their surroundings or their fellow citizens and it is entirely unnecessary.

"As the pandemic endures, and with it the sensitivity around touching items, people may simply get out of the habit of picking up other people's litter.

"We risk losing a civic behaviour which is vital in keeping our country clean."