Blame for environment shared

Greeks appear to be taking on more responsibility for the environment on an individual level and are shoving less blame onto the government’s shoulders, according to the results of a study made public yesterday. The study, prepared by Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage, found that 41 percent of respondents believe each person is responsible for ecological problems, with 27 percent and 14 percent blaming the government and business respectively. Almost all of those questioned, 96 percent, ranked damage caused to nature as being an important social problem, followed by pollution and problems in education. Devastating fires over the summer period, which burnt large parts of southern and central Greece and ended with the deaths of more than 80 people, have raised awareness on environmental issues among Greeks. Another message to come out of the survey is that the vast majority believe economic growth should not come at the cost of nature, while about a third called for a ban to construction in out-of-town areas. «The survey also banishes the myth that banning out-of-town planning construction will cause a revolution,» said Costas Karas, president of the society, as he referred to a feared backlash among voters that the ban may cause. «In favor of the ban, according to the research, are lower-income groups and 74 percent of those that have a holiday home in a district that does not belong within town-planning limits.» Nearly all of those questioned said lessons on the environment should be compulsory up to the end of secondary school, while one in two supports the idea of a separate environment ministry being set up.