Athenians rate city EU’s dirtiest

Athenians display greater dissatisfaction with their quality of life – chiefly due to high pollution levels – than city dwellers elsewhere in Europe, according to a Eurobarometer survey of 75 cities. More than one in three (37 percent) of Athens residents are dissatisfied with life in the capital, as compared to a European average of 9 percent. Indeed, one-quarter (26 percent) are «extremely dissatisfied,» compared to just 4 percent in Europe. High pollution levels and the lack of green spaces are the chief gripes of Athenians. A massive 94 percent consider atmospheric pollution to be the capital’s biggest problem. The European average is 67 percent. A total of 68 percent believe Athens is «dirty,» compared to 46 percent elsewhere in Europe. The same percentage of Athenians are unimpressed with their city’s parks and green spaces although citizens of Naples and Sofia are even less satisfied. Noise pollution is also annoying for Athenians, with 92 percent describing it as a «big problem.» One in four (39 percent) of Athens residents say they feel unsafe because of rising crime rates, with 23 percent feeling nervous in their own neighborhood. Only residents of Sofia, Naples and Istanbul express greater concern. The study also revealed that half (52 percent) of Athenians do not expect an improvement in conditions in their capital. The only positive statistic that emerged from the survey was that 70 percent of Athenians expressed satisfaction with the city’s public transport system (although 42 percent said they would like a more efficient bus service). The Eurobarometer survey was carried out in November 2006 with a sample of 37,815 citizens in 75 cities in the 27 EU member states and EU candidate members Croatia and Turkey.

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