New Eurobarometer survey shows: The majority of Europeans think the EU should propose additional measures to address air quality problems

air quality

(Credit, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


According to a new Eurobarometer survey, over two thirds of Europeans think that the European Union should propose additional measures to improve air quality. Of the more than 27,000 citizens interviewed in all EU Member States, more than half of respondents think that households, car manufacturers, energy producers, farmers and public authorities are not doing enough to promote good air quality.

Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella said: “I am encouraged to see that so many Europeans support action on air quality. In the EU, air pollution causes over 400,000 premature deaths every year and society pays a huge price including for healthcare, lost work days and damage to crops and buildings. The Commission is providing expertise, best practice exchanges and guidance for Member States and businesses, as well as support for investment and funding to improve air quality for all. But at the same time, if EU laws are not respected, we take legal action against Member States.”

The survey also reveals the need for better communication, especially at national level, about air quality. A majority of respondents do not feel well-informed about air quality problems in their country. Compared to a 2017 survey, respondents are more likely to think that air quality has deterioratedover the past ten years – even if, in fact, air quality data reported shows significant improvements during that time.

In May 2018, the Juncker Commission adopted a Communication ‘A Europe that protects: Clean air for all’setting the measures needed to be taken by national, regional and local actors to improve air quality in Europe. Furthermore, the Commission has taken legal action to protect citizens from air pollution referring to the Court of Justice of the European Union the Member States that fail to respect EU legislation on air quality. The Commission is also stepping up cooperation with Member States by engaging with relevant authorities in new ‘Clean Air Dialogues’. In the next two days, on 28 and 29 November 2019, the EU Clean Air Forum will take place in Bratislava, which will be the occasion for decision makers and stakeholders to share knowledge and assist in the implementation of European, national and local air policies.

The main results of the new Special Eurobarometer survey on the attitudes of Europeans towards Air Quality include:

A majority of respondents want the EU to propose additional measures

More than two-thirds of respondents (71%) say they think the EU should propose additional measures to address air quality-related problems in Europe and 38% would like to be able to express their views on such measures.

This is the view of a majority of respondents in all Member States.

Air quality-related problems should be dealt with at the international level first, say most respondents

More than seven in ten respondents say that air pollution should be addressed at the international level (72%). Half of respondents say it should be addressed at European level and the same proportion say it should be addressed at the national level.

For the largest proportion of respondents (44%), the most effective way to tackle air quality problems is to apply stricter pollution controls on industrial and energy-production activities. This is the most frequently mentioned measure in 25 Member States.

Respondents believe that different actors, including households, should do more to tackle air quality problems

More than 50% of respondents in all countries think that households, car manufacturers, energy producers, farmers and public authorities are not doing enough to promote good air quality.

However, Europeans tend to take more actions to reduce harmful emissions than in 2017

Seven in ten respondents have taken at least one action to reduce harmful emissions in the air. This is an eight-percentage point increase compared to responses from the 2017 survey.

The main action taken by respondents is the replacement of older energy-intensive equipment with new equipment with a better energy rating (41%).

The level of information about air quality problems is rather low

A majority of respondents (54%) do not feel well-informed about EU air quality problems in their country.

Most respondents think that the quality of air has deteriorated in the last ten years and this negative perception has tended to increase since 2017

Respondents are more likely to think that air quality has deteriorated (58%) rather than stayed the same (28%) or improved (10%) over the past ten years.

There has been an 11-percentage point increase since 2017 in the respondents who believe that air quality has deteriorated.

There is still low awareness of EU air quality standards

Only around one third of respondents have heard of the EU air quality standards (31%). Most of those who have heard of the standards believe they should be strengthened (63%).

Air quality-related problems mentioned in the survey are considered serious by most respondents

More than 50% of respondents think that respiratory diseases, cardio-vascular diseases and asthma and allergy are very serious problem in their countries.

Background

This survey was carried out in the 28 EU Member States between 11 and 29 September 2019. 27,565 respondents from different social and demographic groups were interviewed face-to-face at home in their mother tongue.

This Special Eurobarometer survey is the follow-up of a Flash Eurobarometer survey conducted in September 2012 on the same topic. Many of the questions from the Flash Eurobarometer have been repeated in this Special Eurobarometer. Some of the questions in the 2012 Eurobarometer Flash were also asked in the Special Eurobarometer on Attitudes of Europeans towards the Environment conducted in October 2017.

This survey was designed to explore perceptions of the level of knowledge about air quality problems; perceived changes in the quality of air over the past ten years; the role of different actors in promoting good air quality; the most effective ways of tackling air quality problems; the preferred level of action at which to address air quality problems; awareness of EU air quality standards and opinions about them; and support for additional EU measures to tackle these problems.

The Eurobarometer results come just before the opening of the EU Clean Air Forum in Bratislava on 28 and 29 November 2019. The Forum will focus on four areas: health and air quality; energy and air quality; agriculture and air quality; and clean air funding mechanisms.

More than 30 speakers from government, industry and non-governmental organisations will share their views on improving air quality and reflect on the development and implementation of effective European, national and local air policies, projects and programmes.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

3 ways to use digital identity systems in global supply chains

IFMSA and IPSF on the Health of Migrants and Refugees

5 curve-flattening technologies being developed by young people

Here are 6 big ideas to help the environment

Migration crisis update: lack of solidarity not only among EU leaders but also EU officials

The sun’s impact on Earth and weather celebrated, as planet marks World Meteorological Day

Can Southeast Asia keep up with growing energy demand?

Crop yields are up in Syria, but higher prices still cause major strain: new UN report

Commission proposes fishing opportunities in the Atlantic and North Sea for 2019

This is where teachers are most (and least) respected

October’s EU strong digital mix: From Safe Harbour to Net Neutrality, Roaming and Snowden

‘Great cause of concern’ UN chief tells Security Council, surveying ‘bleak’ state of civilian protection

UN rights office calls on Zimbabwe Government to end ‘crackdown’ in response to fuel protests

Tax reforms accelerating with push to lower corporate tax rates

Donors must do more to align development finance with climate goals

UN summit tackles climate change-induced threat to mountain water supplies

Can Eurozone’s uncertain growth answer the challenges that lie ahead?

What are we actually working for?

Banking on sustainability – what’s next?

Why press freedom should be at the top of everyone’s agenda

A Sting Exclusive: “The EU Cybersecurity Act for a more secure and cyber-resilient European Digital Single Market”, by EU Commissioner Gabriel

How powering food storage could end hunger

Banks, insurance giants are free again to abuse the real economy

International World Summit Award calls for outstanding digital applications with impact on society from 178 UN member states

Why the West supports the yen’s devaluation and Japanese over-indebtedness

EU-UK future relations: “level playing field” crucial to ensure fair competition

Thousands of Syrians in ‘life and death’ struggle amid harsh conditions in remote desert camp, UN warns

Will Turkey abandon the refugee deal and risk losing a bonanza of money?

UN, world leaders, condemn Sri Lanka terrorist attacks targeting churches, hotels, which leave more than 200 dead

Veteran public official from Portugal elected to lead UN migration agency

UN rights experts call on Philippines Government to halt ‘unacceptable attacks’ on Victoria Tauli-Corpuz

On Kristallnacht anniversary, UN chief urges renewed fight against ‘crime’ of anti-Semitism

Ahead of key UN-backed Marrakech migration conference, youth recount harrowing journeys

On the detention of children in the United States of America

Will 2020 be the year blockchain overcomes its hype?

The Czech economy is thriving but boosting skills and productivity and transitioning to a low-carbon productive model is vital to sustainable and inclusive growth

One in three Venezuelans not getting enough to eat, UN study finds

Measuring consumer confidence isn’t useful anymore. Here’s what we should do instead

UN and civil society team up to make cities more sustainable and inclusive

Gender equality within junior enterprises: the effect of President’s gender

Bilbao’s city parks offer brain-training games for the elderly

American women are 50% more likely to die in childbirth than their mothers

LGBTQ+: The invisible poor on our healthcare

Eurozone needs more than some decimals of growth

MEPs approve €585 million to support refugees from Syria

The European Youth Forum needs better signal for its “call” for Quality Internships

Cyclone Idai: emergency getting ‘bigger by the hour’, warns UN food agency

Yellow vests, rising violence – what’s happening in France?

Engaging women and girls in science ‘vital’ for Sustainable Development Goals

Brazilian mountain farmers reap recognition, through UN heritage listing

UN forum spotlights cities, where struggle for sustainability ‘will be won or lost’

There is no recipe for a healthy mental state

Education expenditure in the EU not hurt much by crisis

Drinking water: new plans to improve tap water quality and cut plastic litter

Ebola outbreak in DR Congo conflict zone ‘remains dangerous and unpredictable’ – UN chiefs

China is among the 20 most innovative economies for the first time

The needs, challenges and power dynamics of refugee resettlement

UN chief condemns deadly Burkina Faso mosque attack

Air quality: Commission takes action to protect citizens from air pollution

EU-wide penalties for money laundering: deal with Council

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s