74% of Romanians think air quality has worsened in last 10 years

Air quality in Romania has got worse over the last 10 years, according to 74 percent of Romanians surveyed by Eurobarometer, which carries out EU statistical studies.

Only 9 percent believe the air quality has improved, while 15 percent think it has stayed the same. The results suggest that Romanians are more pessimistic about the levels of pollution in the air they are breathing than people elsewhere in the EU. On average among the member states, 56 percent of people believe air quality has deteriorated, 16 percent think it has improved and 24 percent believe that it is unchanged.

When asked what could be done to improve air quality, the just over 1,000 Romanians questioned gave answers that were in the main in line with the rest of Europe. The top answer was imposing stricter controls on the industrial and energy production sectors, with 39 percent of respondents giving this as a way of improving air quality. Romanians were less enthusiastic about providing financial incentives, such as tax breaks, to encourage use and purchase of lower emission products and technology. Only 20 percent of Romanians favored this response, compared to 35 percent on average in the EU.

Providing more information to the public on the health and environmental consequences of air pollution and putting stricter controls on emission from new cars and vehicles were also popular answers. Romanians were more enthusiastic about new, stricter legislation on air pollution than the rest of Europe. Nearly 30 percent of Romanians suggested introduction of stricter legislation as a solution, against less than 20 percent of respondents on average across the EU.

Other suggested solutions included restricting traffic in high pollution areas in cities, better enforcement of existing air pollution laws and increasing taxation on air polluting activities.

When it came to the EU’s role, Romanians were very much in agreement with the rest of the Union in believing that the EU should propose additional measures to tackle air pollution. Some 74 percent of the Romanian respondents said that the EU isn’t doing enough, similar to the 79 percent EU average. Air pollution from industry and from transport were the areas of greatest concern for both Romanians and Europeans as a whole.

More than 50 percent of Romanians and Europeans believed that both EU and national air quality standards were not up to scratch.

Adapted from Romania-insider