A huge majority of EU citizens care deeply about the environment

A huge majority of EU citizens care deeply about the environment


The latest survey by the European Commission shows that the environment is an important personal concern to more than 90% of respondents in every single Member State. A large majority of Europeans agree that using natural resources more efficiently and protecting the environment can boost economic growth in the EU.

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The survey reveals a growing awareness of the pressures on natural resources. When asked about solutions, 8 in 10 want businesses to do more to use natural resources more efficiently, more than 7 in 10 want nationals governments to do more, and almost 7 in 10 think citizens themselves should do more.
When asked about their top five environmental concerns, more than 3 in 10 Europeans now think about the depletion of natural resources (33%, up from 26% in 2007), 41% think about water pollution, 33% think about the growth of waste (up from 24%), and 19% think about consumption (up from 11%). Concern for biodiversity loss, by contrast, remains low only 22% think about the loss of species and habitats.
The report also contains a strong mandate for EU action: despite the economic crisis, almost 9 in 10 Europeans think EU funding should be allocated to support environmentally friendly activities. Specifically, 89% of Europeans think that more funding should be allocated to support protecting the environment; 81% support environmentally-focused legislation at the EU level as a necessary means of protecting the environment; almost 60% of Europeans think that environmentally friendly procurement procedures are the most effective way of tackling environmental problems. Also, 79% of citizens believe that the EU should help to support non-EU countries to protect the environment.
While most Europeans feel reasonably well informed about the environment (60%, up from 55% in 2007), information deficits were identified in a number of areas. Some 50% of Europeans feel that current labelling systems do not allow them to identify environmentally friendly goods with confidence. Citizens would also like to be better informed about the impact of common chemicals on their health (40%), about the use of GMOs in farming (37%), agricultural pollution from pesticides and fertilisers, and about the depletion of natural resources (27%).
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