By Jean Christou
OVER 70 per cent of Cypriots in a new Eurobarometer poll said the environment was an important issue for them, yet only 48 per cent believe they as individuals can play a role in protecting it.
Over half said environmental issues have a direct effect on their daily lives compared to 35 per cent on average in the rest of the EU.
The majority of Europeans – 54 per cent – say that the sorting of waste for recycling should be a top-three priority in the daily lives of people in their country to protect the environment.
The second and third most important priorities were the reduction of home energy consumption (39 per cent), and using public transport (also 39 per cent).
A third of respondents mentioned reducing food waste (33 per cent), while less than a quarter identified reducing packaging waste (24 per cent), purchasing more local products (22 per cent) and environmentally-friendly products (22 per cent) as priorities.
The poll said that relatively few respondents mentioned reducing home water consumption (14 per cent), replacing their car with a more energy-efficient model (13 per cent), or considering environmental aspects of large purchases (11 per cent).
The sorting of waste so that it can be recycled is the top answer in all but four member states. One of the exceptions was Cyprus, where reducing home energy consumption was the top answer with 61 per cent.
The second priority for Cypriots was sorting waste (59 per cent) and the third, greater use of public transport (41 per cent).
However when asked what they had done in the previous month to help protect the environment only 21 per cent of those polled said they had chosen to use public transport more, and only 39 per cent said they had chosen to buy more local produce.
Almost half said they had cut back on water use, and a large percentage, 65 per cent, said they had cut back on wasting energy. More than two thirds also said they had separated their waste for recycling in the previous month.
According to the Cypriots who were polled, the most effective way of tacking environmental problems would be to introduce stricter legislation but when asked whether better enforcement of existing legislation was a way to tackle the problem, only 21 per cent agreed.
By Jean Christou