Given the media attention devoted in recent times to air and noise pollution, it was expected that a majority of Indians would mark them as the most serious environmental concerns.
But that was not the case as revealed by a nationwide survey conducted by CVoter on behalf of IANS to find out what ordinary Indians felt about issues related to the environment as the world marks the Environment Day on June 5.
A limited set of specific questions were asked to more than 1,200 respondents belonging to various socio economic, educational and ethnic backgrounds. The respondents were offered seven factors that could be identified as the ones most responsible for environmental damage.
The indiscriminate cutting of trees was singled out as the most serious danger by 43 per cent of the respondents, far ahead of dirty rivers which occupied the second spot with about 12 per cent identifying it as the most serious problem. The responses cut across all backgrounds.
For example, while 46.3 per cent of respondents living in urban India singled out the indiscriminate cutting of trees as the most serious danger, 41.3 per cent of respondents living in rural India felt the same. Similarly, while about 45 per cent of the opposition supporters were of the opinion that cutting of trees posed the most serious threat to the environment, about 40 per cent of NDA supporters shared the same view.
In recent times, air and noise pollution have attracted a lot of attention in the country. But, while just about 11 per cent of the respondents asserted that air pollution posed the biggest threat, a meagre 4 per cent felt that noise pollution posed a serious threat. Illegal mining and excessive use of chemicals, fertilisers and plastic were also not rated as very serious threats by ordinary Indians.