The vast majority of Greeks believe that the degradation of the natural environment and the extinction of animal and plant species is now a real threat, according to a nationwide poll carried out by Marc for WWF Hellas, in the context of the LIFE-IP 4 NATURA project.
Based on the poll 91.1 percent of respondents said the environment is threatened, a percentage that increased to 95 percent for participants between the ages of 17-24.
This figure confirms the trend depicted by recent Eurobarometer surveys (2017 and 2014), in which Greek citizens appear to be more concerned about the environment compared to the European average (in 2017, 69 percent of Greek citizens responded that protecting the environment is “very important” to them, while the equivalent figure for the rest of the EU was 56 percent.)
Asked what they think is the biggest environmental problem in their area, 30.6 percent responded garbage and waste, 19.4 percent said air pollution and exhaust fumes, 8.9 percent said sea and water pollution and 7.9 percent said pollution from factories, refineries, the Public power Corporation (PPC) and Greek oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE).
The survey also found that 82.2 percent of the respondents would prefer a stricter legislative framework for nature protection, while 92.2 percent believe that the existing legislation is not being implemented adequately.
The purpose of the survey was to capture the Greek citizens’ views on issues related to nature protection, with emphasis on the Natura 2000 network, which lies at the heart of the project’s actions.
Greece currently has 446 sites listed under the Natura 2000 network which currently covers one third of the country’s land area and about 20 percent of the marine area.
However, the poll showed 65 percent of participants do not know whether there is a Natura 2000 site in the region where they reside.