At least two-thirds of citizens in five countries have said they support stricter laws to tackle air pollution, according to a new YouGov survey conducted on behalf of the Clean Air Fund.
According to a new survey, the majority of Indians think living in an area with high air pollution increases the risk of “catching COVID -19, be severely ill and making it harder to recover”.
The report called “Breathing Space” based on e-samples from countries like India, UK, Poland, Bulgaria and Nigeria also makes recommendations for governments to put clean air strategies at the heart of plans to rebuild from Covid-19.
Air pollution has made millions of people vulnerable to the most severe impacts of COVID-19 and at the same time, air quality has significantly improved as a result of actions to protect public health through lockdowns.
The Clean Air Fund is calling on leaders to put together recovery stimulus packages to develop a joint national health and environment strategy, make reducing air pollution a key element of economic stimulus, support repurposing cities for walking and cycling and work with other governments to tackle pollution.
According to the survey, the majority of respondents in India think air pollution directly affects their general health and is the number one public health concern alongside infectious disease. Therefore as many as 85 percent in the survey also supported stricter laws of regulations on air quality.
Incentives to help people and businesses use cleaner forms of transport (e.g. cleaner vehicles, public transport, walking and cycling) and more Clean Air Zones in cities (e.g. where the most polluting vehicles are charged more) got the support from 84% respondents.
Incentives to help people use cleaner fuels in their home for cooking and heating was supported by 80% of the respondents in India according to the survey, a government scheme to replace gas boilers with electric ones by 78% and restrictions on the use of polluting fuels in homes for cooking and heating by 76%.
As much as 73% supported switching spending on new roads to spending on public transport and 59% to road pricing for private/individual’s vehicles “where you pay per mile driven”.
Vast majority of Indians are concerned about air pollution as a public health issue, putting it on a level with concern for infectious disease. As much as 86% were worried about air pollution as a public health issue. As many as 80% believe it to be on a level with infectious disease and ahead of climate change, mental health (73%), drugs and alcohol (71%), smoking (68%) and obesity (65%).