According to a new Eurobarometer survey, 94% of citizens in all EU Member States say that protecting the environment is important to them. In addition, 91% of citizens stated that climate change is a serious problem in the EU. European legislation is necessary to protect the environment, according to 83% of those surveyed.
The Eurobarometer Survey published today reveals that citizens want more to be done to protect the environment, and that they believe responsibility should be shared by big companies and industry, national governments and the EU, as well as citizens themselves. The interviewed citizens considered that the most effective ways of tackling environmental problems are ‘changing the way we consume’ and ‘changing the way we produce and trade’.
Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said:“The results of this survey are no surprise to us. With the European Green Deal these are exactly the citizens’ concerns that we want to address. I am encouraged to see that there is support for the fundamental changes we are going to make in our society and economy, and that people want to play an active role in this change.”
Climate change, air pollution, and waste are the three most important environmental issues, according to the findings of the survey. Over three-quarters (78%) of respondents believe that environmental issues have a direct effect on their daily life and health. More than eight in ten citizens are worried about the impact of chemicals present in everyday products.
There is an acknowledgement that fundamental changes may be required. Amongst the more than 27,000 people interviewed, there is solid support for policy measures aimed at reducing plastic waste and littering. The findings also show that citizens believe products should be designed in a way that facilitates recycling of plastic; industry and retailers should make an effort to reduce plastic packaging; people should be educated on how to reduce their plastic waste; and local authorities should provide more and better collection facilities for plastic waste.
The survey also examined attitudes towards the clothing industry, and found high levels of concern about environmental issues and working conditions. Respondents express a desire for clothing that lasts longer and is made of materials that can be recycled.
Finally, support was expressed for other measures, such as investment in research and development, more information and education, encouraging businesses to engage in sustainable activities and tighter legislative control.