Published Tuesday, 09 October 2012
Bonfires were lit across Northern Ireland on the Eleventh Night this year. (© Getty)
Newry and Mourne had the costliest bill for clear-up at almost £120,000, followed by Craigavon on £84,000 and Belfast on £83,000.
However the total figure of £602,922 only accounts for 20 of the 26 councils.
Four councils - Armagh, Derry, Dungannon and North Down - didn't respond to MLA John Dallat's question while two - Fermanagh and Strabane - claimed they had incurred no cost.
Meanwhile Antrim and Down could only give figures for 2012 and Moyle only for 2010, 2011 and 2012.
It was also disclosed that a further £22,229 has been spent clearing up nationalist bonfires.
Mr Dallat said he thinks it's possible the final totals are in excess of a million pounds.
"The figures supplied by the councils vary widely and in some cases are clearly estimates," said the SDLP member.
"My own belief is that the real cost is much higher in some council areas than admitted and, of course the costs borne by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, the Roads Service and other authorities is not included."
The politician said the "astronomical cost to ratepayers" is not justified.
He continued: "None of the costs quantify the damage to community relations, the damage to people's health, particularly children and elderly people and, of course, the harm the countless tyres, tins of paint and other toxic materials are doing to the environment.
"As a society we need to get real and find a more civilised way of celebrating events."