Air Pollution, Global Warming & Overpopulation - top 3 environmental worries among Urban Indians: Ipsos Earth Day Survey

Hierarchy of environmental concerns defined by local affliction of markets 90% Indians concerned about non-recyclable product waste

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  • Madhurima Bhatia Media Relations and Content lead
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April 22, is World Earth Day.  Ipsos conducted a global survey to map the perception of 28 global markets on changing environment. The survey shows that Indians are most concerned about air pollution (50%), global warming (43%) and over population (39%), among all environmental issues.

“Environmental issues are defined by local affliction, other than filial global concerns. The more glaring the problem faced by the locals, the more it gets salient and amplified in their mindsets. Collateral impact of air pollution, climate change and overpopulation has been immense, despite some corrective measures in terms of adoption of green fuels, planting of trees and birth control measures,” says Parijat Chakraborty, country service line leader Public Affairs, Corporate Reputation and Customer Experience, Ipsos India.

Some of the other issues emerging in the survey besetting Indians were: Water Pollution (28%), Deforestation (25%), Poor quality of drinking water (21%), Dealing with waste (20%), Natural resource depletion (17%), Emissions (10%), Future food sources & supplies (9%), Wildlife conservation (7%), Flooding (5%), Overpackaging of consumer goods (5%) and Soil erosion (5%).

“Keeping in view this year’s theme of World Earth Day – Protect our Species – all these environment issues compound the problem, affecting humans, flora and fauna,” added Chakraborty.

Use of Disposable Non-Recyclable Products

90% of the urban Indians polled said that they are deeply concerned with the usage of disposable non-recyclable products.

Interestingly, India is 5th in the pecking order in voicing its concern, among 28 markets.

The survey delved further to understand the policy actions that would discourage usage of non-recyclable plastic and packaging - 51% Indians recommended government investment for improving recycling; 45% Indians want higher taxes on supermarkets and shops using a lot of non-recyclable packaging; 41% Indians voted for strict action of  Fine-for-households-that-do not-recycle-enough policy; 39% Indians felt there should be a Public Information Campaign for building awareness on the consequences of using plastic products; 38% Indians felt that taxing non-recyclable containers is the way forward, will discourage usage and 35% Indians feel that govt ‘naming and shaming bad businesses’ could scrape off good image and lead to less usage.

Non-Recyclable Product Waste – what actions are Indians taking at a personal level to offset its impact?

At a personal level, Indians are taking some concrete steps to reduce problems caused by plastic and packaging that cannot be recycled.

54% Indians say they would be buying products made from recycled materials; 53% Indians say they are re-using disposable items like plastic bags and plastic bottles; 48% Indians plan to stop buying goods that have non-recyclable packaging (styrofoam, for instance); 27%  Indians plan to stop going to supermarkets and shops that use a lot of non-recyclable packaging; 24% Indians are willing to pay extra for goods without non-recyclable packaging and 23% Indians are willing to pay higher taxes for using non- recyclable plastic products.

“Urban Indians understand the ramifications of non-recyclable plastic products on the environment and are willing to take personal actions to mitigate the risk, though these maybe baby steps, in addressing the gargantuan issue,” says Chakraborty.  

So, who should be leading the efforts to reduce non-recyclable waste?

44% Indians feel that onus rests collectively with all stakeholders: packaged goods producers, government, consumers and sellers; though 19% Indians feel government should be leading the efforts, while 12% feel that it should be the consumers of packaged goods who should be driving it, 10% feel the packaged goods producers and 9% say sellers of packaged goods.

Technical Note

These are the findings of Global Advisor, an Ipsos survey conducted between February 22 to March 8, 2019. ​​The survey was conducted in 28 countries around the world, via the Ipsos Online Panel system in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Great Britain, and the USA.

For the results of the survey presented herein, an international sample of 19,519 adults ages 19-74 in South Korea, 18-74 in the US, Canada, China, Malaysia, South Africa and Turkey, and ages 16-74 in all other countries, were interviewed. Approximately 1000+ individuals participated on a country by country basis via the Ipsos Online Panel, with the exception of Argentina, Belgium, Colombia, Chile, Hungary, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Turkey, where each have a sample approximately 500+.

15 of the 28 countries surveyed online generate nationally representative samples in their countries (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and United States). Brazil, China, Colombia, Chile, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey produce a national sample that is more urban & educated, and with higher incomes than their fellow citizens.  We refer to these respondents as “Upper Deck Consumer Citizens”.  They are not nationally representative of their country.

Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to the most recent country Census data, and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/-3.1 percentage points for a sample of 1,000 and an estimated margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20 per country of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in that country had been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

The author(s)

  • Madhurima Bhatia Media Relations and Content lead

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