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Poll finds global environmental concern.

Poll finds global environmental concern

Citizens polled in 22 countries indicate they see environmental ills as a serious problem that increasingly threatens human health. The survey of over 22,000 people contradicts the widespread view that only rich nations are concerned about the environment, according to the Gallup International Institute in Princeton, N.J., which organized the poll and released its results this month.

Majorities in 19 of the 22 countries express at least a fair amount of concern about environmental problems, the survey shows. In all countries, majorities believe environmental problems will affect the health of their children and grandchildren. In 16 countries, including several poor nations, most citizens expressed a willingness to pay higher prices for increased environmental protection. That finding "is perhaps the strongest evidence we found of worldwide concern for the environment," says the Gallup Institute.

When asked to judge the seriousness of seven different problems, survey participants were most likely to label water pollution and loss of rain forests as very serious issues. Following these problems were ozone depletion, air pollution, loss of species, global warming and contaminated soils.

Contrary to expectations, persons in developing countries did not generally blame the richest nations for environmental degradation, the poll reveals. Instead, they typically blamed developing and developed countries equally. On the other side of the economic scale, majorities in five of the 11 richest countries said the industrialized nations deserve the blame for environmental problems. "These findings suggest that the polarization between representatives of rich and poor nations in preparations for the [United Nations' Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro next week] may exaggerate the positions of their constituents," says the Gallup Institute. Among respondents from rich countries, U.S. citizens were least likely to blame the industrialized nations.

Gallup affiliates conducted the poll through face-to-face interviews in Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, United States and Uruguay.
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Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:May 30, 1992
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