Waste generation and the depletion of our natural resources top the envrionmental concerns of EU citizens, according to the latest Eurobarometer survey.
Along with waste and resources, air and water pollution were the highest causes of worry.
The latest Eurobarometer survey on the environment was carried out between 26 April and 11 May 2014, to assess the perceptions, attitudes and practices of EU citizens towards the environment.
27,998 respondents from different social and demographic groups were interviewed face-to-face in their mother tongue on behalf of the Directorate-General for Environment.
The survey also found a strong majority of people share the view that the efficient use of natural resources (79 percent) and the protection of the environment (74 percent) can boost economic growth.
Janez Potočnik said – “People are particularly concerned about air and water pollution, chemicals and waste, and they feel that more must be done by everyone to protect the environment”
Even more citizens than in 2011 (75 percent) say they are ready to buy environmentally-friendly products, even if it means paying a little more. A vast majority (93 percent) think that big polluters should make good the environmental damage they cause. Introducing heavier fines for offenders was deemed the most effective way of tackling environmental problems.
85 percent of Europeans believe they have a role to play in protecting the environment. Most are adopting environmentally-friendly actions and behaviour.
Separation of waste for recycling (72 percent), cutting down energy consumption (52 percent) and cutting down water consumption (37 percent) were the three most common activities.
65 percent believe that citizens themselves could do more. The top-priorities identified for citizens wishing to protect the environment were to sort waste for recycling (54 percent), reduce home energy consumption (39 percent) and use public transport (39 percent).
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “It is good to see such solid and widespread support for the protection of the environment, even in difficult times. People are particularly concerned about air and water pollution, chemicals and waste, and they feel that more must be done by everyone to protect the environment.”