It’s all downhill with climate change, improper solid waste management affecting health: poll

More than half of Bangaloreans admit to a perceived change in the city’s climate, and a majority feels improper solid waste management is severely impacting people’s health. But paradoxically, less than half of them are willing to contribute by segregating waste.

These are some of the key findings of a survey carried out by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), released ahead of World Environment Day.

According to a press release from TERI, the survey was carried out in Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai. It aimed at gauging people’s perception, behaviour, awareness and opinion pertaining to various environmental issues. Six themes were selected for the study — overall environment, air quality, water quality, waste and waste management, climate change and forest/green cover.

Climate change

The survey said 64 per cent of the respondents perceived that climate change was a reality, 53 per cent observed a lot of change in temperature and 42 per cent witnessed occurrence of extreme events.

Waste management

The survey indicated that 69 per cent of the respondents felt that improper solid waste management was causing very severe impact on health, while less than 10 per cent considered the impact to be moderate or low. Many said that the collection of garbage/waste from households was extremely important in managing the waste, but 44 per cent were not willing to segregate waste, while 11 per cent showed willingness to segregate.

The reasons for the reluctance in rolling up the sleeves and getting down to segregation were given as it being a cumbersome task (34 per cent), needing more space to keep the two separate bins (31 per cent), and the feeling that segregation is the responsibility of the local authority (23 per cent).

Green cover

Eighty per cent said they had never been involved in the cutting of a tree. Though 19 per cent of the population is involved in planting a tree once a year, a majority of 45 per cent of the respondents had never planted a tree.

Thirty-nine per cent considered factories in and around the city and the transport sector (32 per cent) to be the major contributors to air pollution. Encouragingly, nearly 90 per cent of the respondents use public transport more than thrice a week.

The respondents identified leakage from taps and faucets (38 per cent), leakage during distribution to households (25 per cent) and over-use of water by consumers (17 per cent) as the main reasons for water wastage.

Whose responsibility?

The survey indicated that 55 per cent of respondents felt that the responsibility for improving the city’s environment rested with government and business (25 per cent). On the balance between environment and development in India, 22 per cent felt that the government should prioritise development, whereas 19 per cent indicated it should be environmental protection.