How do environmental issues rank among Italians’ concerns? Not very high according to the latest ISTAT report, since in 2012 only 45% stated they were “very” or “fairly” interested. However the region of residence also makes a difference, given that those who expressed an interest in the environment are more numerous in the North (51% in the Northeast and 50% in the Northwest); the South still lags behind (38.1%), whereas at 43.4% the Centre is slightly below the national mean.
Information channels may be the major factor affecting these figures, since TV and radio programmes are the source for 85% of Italians and newspapers for 54%; only 3% of Italians participate in initiatives by environmental associations. One finding stands out: from 1998 to 2012 perception of the local environmental risk declined. Indeed concern related to the distance of potentially harmful plants from homes diminished slightly over this period, with the exception of radio-TV and telephone antenna towers.
At the global level Italians’ main concerns are air pollution (52% of those interviewed); waste production/disposal and climate change (both 47%); and water pollution (38%). Compared with 1998 the tendency to adopt environmentally conscious behaviours rose, albeit slightly, whereas water-saving behaviours were up from 54% to 68%.
Translated by Silvia Modena