Survey: Estonians less concerned about air quality than other Europeans ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

British doctors protesting air pollution.
British doctors protesting air pollution. Source: Dominic Lipinski, PA Wire/PA Images / Scanpix

Estonians are less concerned about air quality than EU citizens on average and are not as keen on tightening air purity standards, according to a new Eurobarometer survey.

While 44 per cent of respondents in Estonia believe that air quality has stayed the same over the last decade, 21 per cent say it has improved and 27 per cent believe it has worsened. The EU average is that 58 percent of respondents believed it stayed the same and 10 percent thought it had improved.

The survey data showed Estonians do not consider air quality problems to be as serious in their country as other Europeans. On average, 54 percent of Europeans think that respiratory and lung diseases are a very serious problem but only 24 percent in Estonia. 53 percent of all Europeans and 30 percent of the population of Estonia consider asthma and allergies to be a serious problem.

One of the biggest differences is in whether or not environmental acidification and eutrophication are considered to be serious problems or not, with 47 per cent of people in Europe considering them to be a very big problem, compared to only 13 percent in Estonia.  

Estonians are much more likely than other Europeans to think that European Union air quality standards are already strict. While 63 percent of Europeans were in favor of tightening air quality standards, only 31 percent of Estonians agreed.

When it comes to improving air quality, 51 percent of Estonians considered stricter control of industrial and energy companies to be important, while in Europe, on average, 44 percent of respondents said it was important. 

At the same time, Estonians do not believe in creating stricter laws. While across Europe, on average, 27 percent think that stricter laws would help improve air quality, only 15 percent of Estonian respondents agreed.  

However, the average person in Estonia wants to see more information on the impact of air quality on human health and the environment than the European average - 28 and 24 per cent, respectively.

The face-to-face Eurobarometer survey was conducted in Estonia from Sept. 11 to 23 September and 1019 people were interviewed. A total of 27,565 people took part across the European Union.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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