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Environmental protection important for vast majority of Europeans

According to a new Eurobarometer poll, 95% of the 28.000 citizens interviewed said protecting the environment is important to them personally and many think more can be done.

The concerns of European citizens was echoed by the Green10 coalition at this week’s welcome reception for MEPs in the European Parliament. Three years on from the most recent and similar Eurobarometer survey, it is clear that, despite the economic crisis, Europeans’ concerns about the environment has not diminished.

Former EU Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik said that even in difficult times, it is good to see such solid and widespread support for environmental protection. European citizens are particularly concerned about air and water pollution, chemicals and waste for the environment and for their health. They feel that more must be done by everyone to protect the planet and its people.

A strong majority believe environmental protection makes economic sense with the view that the efficient use of natural resources and environmental protection can boost economic growth. 77 percent of EU citizens believe that environmental problems have a direct effect on their daily lives with air and water pollution ranking the highest among their concerns.

Regarding environmental responsibility, more citizens than in 2011 (75 percent) say they are ready to buy environmentally-friendly products, even if it means paying a little more. Introducing heavier fines for offenders of environmental damage such as big polluters, was deemed the most effective way of tackling environmental problems. 85 percent believe they have a role to play and most are adopting environmentally-friendly actions and behaviour. While more citizens feel well informed about the environment in general, 39 percent feel they lack information about the health impact of chemicals used in everyday products.

Many EU citizens call for support for EU action and agree that European environmental legislation is necessary to protect the environment in their country. The EU should be able to check that environmental laws are being applied correctly in their country and 84 percent want more EU funding to be allocated to supporting environmentally-friendly activities.

Originally posted on 25 September 2014

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The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »

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