Majority of adults anxious about air pollution and worried they are not being properly informed

A survey of 2000 adults has revealed the large majority of adults in the UK are anxious about air pollution and are concerned that they are not fully being informed of its dangers.

Global Action Plan, the charity behind Clean Air Day, have released the results from the first regular UK-wide survey of public awareness, attitudes and actions on air pollution. The Clean Air Public Insight Tracker (CAPIT) will be released quarterly and asked participants a range of questions related to air quality.

Each quarter, the data and summary report will be made publicly available for free, to boost the knowledge base for the whole air quality sector.

The first edition revealed that:

  • 92% of adults think that reducing air quality should be a priority for the UK.
  • 83% of adults believe that their health is impacted by outdoor air pollution.
  • 65% don’t know who to turn to for information and advice on air pollution.
  • The indoor air pollution problem remains poorly appreciated. Almost as many people believe it has no impact on their health (32%) as those who feel it has a moderate or major impact on their health (36%).
  • The two most popular actions the public expects from the government and business are switching fleets to electric vehicles (27%) and levying access charges for the most polluting vehicles in towns and cities (22%).
  • Putting electric vehicle charging points in public car parks was twice as popular as putting them ‘in my street’ (20% and 10% respectively).

Chris Large, senior partner at Global Action Plan said: ‘We must let the public guide us with their level of concern and desire for action, how they have responded to the advice they have been given and the help they need to minimise local air pollution.

‘The Clean Air Day campaign, as the lead UK-wide public engagement resource on air quality, with our 200-strong local authority and health organisation supporter community, is where this guidance can most effectively be sourced and implemented.’

See the full survey results here. Clean Air Day is taking place on Thursday June 20.

The issue of public awareness on air quality came up when AirQualityNews.com spoke to Humphrey Milles, who is hoping to launch a nationwide publicity campaign on the dangers of air pollution.

He said the government closing the Central of Office of Information in 2011 had a ‘catastrophic’ effect on the public’s knowledge of health issues.

‘Our information environment is rapidly becoming shaped almost entirely by commercial interests,’ he said.

‘Corporate PR, advertising and commercial lobbying dictate government policy, dominate the news pages and form the media.

‘Information relating to environmental, social and economic issues which are essential for the public to make well-balanced judgements and rational decisions is frequently missed, overlooked or ignored as instead the public are encouraged to consume more and think less.’