A survey on pro-environmental awareness and attitudes of Poles

”Survey on pro-environmental awareness and attitudes of the residents of Poland” is a research project implemented in the past four consecutive years (2011 through 2014). As the authors of this year's survey (made in October 2014 by TNS Polska) concluded: ”a lot of things has changed over the four years. The results of our recurrent surveys show how the Poles have perceived a gradual worsening and then improvement in their living conditions”. Moreover, the results reveal the effects of changes in laws and regulations on the perception and attitudes.

The survey did not address highly specific issues, such as the attitude to shale gas exploration. Nevertheless the results provide an insight into the attitudes of Poles to the environment, their knowledge of that subject and everyday pro-environmental routines.

The survey addressed the following seven key subject areas:
1.    The biggest challenges for Poland versus environmental problems
2.    The environment and its protection
3.    The quality of air
4.    Waste management
5.    Climate change
6.    Personal pro-environmental activities and consumer behaviour
7.    Environment Ministry's image

The survey has revealed that environmental awareness of Poles is still inadequate. Moreover, the respondents are frequently inconsistent in their answers. On the one hand, we are aware of personal responsibility for the environment, but on the other pro-environmental consumer behaviour is unpopular. In their purchase decisions, the Poles are still driven by money savings, while pro-environmental solutions they associate with higher costs.

Most Poles consider healthcare and employment as the most problematic areas within government's responsibility. Environmental issues are not on the list of the most pressing problem areas.

As far as the environment itself is considered, waste management is perceived as the key problem area (45% of all responses). Other frequently mentioned environmental problems are: air pollution zanieczyszczenie powietrza (39% of all responses), water pollution (35% of all responses) and climate change. The Poles are least concerned about low water resources, higher noise and extinction of animal and plant species.

Comparing with previous surveys, in 2014 the Poles assess much better the status of the environment, both local and across the country. The national and local environment is favourably evaluated by 63 and 70%, respectively, of those polled.

The respondents are motivated to protect the environment primarily by concerns for human health and future generations, mentioned by 50% of the Poles. The status of the environment is dependent first of all on our individual efforts. Institutional factors (e.g. good law, efforts of authorities, etc.) are important but less frequently mentioned.

The Poles do not feel compelled to seek information about the environment and its protection on their own. Instead, they rely on TV, which is the main single source of knowledge about the environment (76% of all responses). Product packaging notes, books and own observations are by far the least mentioned sources of information about the environment.

Like in previous years, in 2014 a majority of the Poles (76% of them) believes that environmental protection may have a favourable effect on the growth of national economy.

Notions known to a vast majority of Poles are: climate change and renewable sources of energy (86% and 81%, respectively). Most of us (71%) are able to identify the term GMO (genetically modified organisms). Almost a half of those polled claims to be familiar with the notions of low emission (57%), green economy (57%) and energy effectiveness (50%). Less well known terms are: thermal improvement, biodiversity, Natura 2000 Network and CSR.

More information is available at: www.mos.gov.pl


source: Ministry of Environment, TNS Polska



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