People in Serbia generally support ecology and environmental protection, but at the same time, they are a bit confused about the consequences of this and are worried about costs of becoming more environmentally friendly.
However, environmental issues are seen as one of the national priorities, behind the economy, health and employment, and far above the rule of law, social issues and media freedom.
Residents of Belgrade rank environmental issues first (43% of survey respondents). The survey, conducted by the Heinrich Bell Foundation, shows that citizens think that ecology and economy should go “hand in hand” (76% of survey participants).
When it comes to climate change, 87% have shown concern. However, these answers also show some confusion because they clash with answers about how climate change influences their lives and how important it is. More precisely, 48% of them think that it is a natural phenomenon and that nothing can be done about it. In addition, 40% of respondents said that the media exaggerate the problem of climate change and 65% said that there are more important problems to solve.
When asked who should solve these problems and take appropriate action, 46% of people believe that the government carries the biggest responsibilities, followed by citizens.
When asked what should be done to improve the environment, 46% of respondents see recycling as a solution, 40% say eliminating the use of plastic bags and as many as 39% believe that stricter penalties should be introduced for violating local environmental laws.
When it comes to the implementation of new solutions, survey respondents think that money is crucial. 79% said they were ready to switch to alternative sources of electricity in order to reduce pollution, but almost the same percentage of respondents would do this on condition that the increase in electricity costs was moderate.
The vast majority also stated that they were ready to participate personally in initiatives, from waste management to planting trees and recycling.
Furthermore, more than 75 per cent agree on banning the import of cars that were produced 15 and more years ago, which do not meet EU standards for environmental protection, but 41 per cent of Serbian citizens and 37 per cent of Belgrade citizens say they would support this step only if the government provided subsidies for the purchase of older cars.
When asked about a solution for pollution, 37% think that new clean industries should be built, 27% think that retraining is the solution and 10% think that small businesses should be helped with pollution.
This post is also available in: Italiano