A think tank known as Tsingyan Research (清研智库) recently published a report on the Beijing Public’s Environmental Awareness from 2013 to 2017. The report claims that public environmental awareness, levels of environmental education and environmental responsibility have all increased.
According to the study, public knowledge of environmental issues and of ways to combat pollution has noticeably increased, and the public’s understanding of the causes of pollution has also become more objective.
When asked about the causes of pollution, respondents stated that the increased pollution in autumn and winter is from “the increased use of heating mechanisms”, and stated “the increased pollution production is beyond the capacity of the environment”, “the lack of wind means that pollutants do not disperse” and “the geographical location of Beijing is detrimental to the dispersion of pollutants”. Looking at published papers on the causes of air pollution from PM2.5 particles, a correlation between the attitudes of the public and scientific findings emerges.
In regards to the way the public deals with “rumours on environmental protection” (环保谣言), more than 30% of respondents said that they would question the claim, not re-post or leave comments on social media, and look to the news or government agencies for explanations. This figure has increased significantly from 16.7% in 2016. Over 50% of respondents indicated that they participate in environmental protection activities run by local government and communities. Environmental activities that incorporate sports are the most popular at 72.5%. Online activities attract people because “they don’t have restrictions on time and location”. 88.6% and 79.6% of the respondents respectively chose “cultivating green living habits” and “establishing green consumption perspectives” as the best ways to promote green-living.
The public’s satisfaction with Beijing’s environment is also shown to have risen. The results for 2017 are more positive than those for the previous two years, with 64% of respondents stating that they were happy/satisfied with the overall environmental situation, increasing from 42.2% in 2015.