The coronavirus lockdown has fed a typical want in some very completely different international locations: the necessity for cleaner air and help for harder authorities guidelines to do away with air pollution, in line with an opinion ballot made public on Wednesday.
A survey of people in five countries — Britain, Bulgaria, India, Nigeria, and Poland — discovered vital help for stricter air high quality rules and enforcement of present guidelines. The survey was carried out amid the pandemic, between Might 22 and June 2, by the web polling service, YouGov, on behalf of an advocacy group referred to as the Clear Air Fund.
About 90 p.c of these surveyed in India and Nigeria mentioned they need improved air high quality. Giant majorities — greater than 80 p.c in each international locations, the place the working poor are likely to stroll and use bicycles — mentioned they supported repurposing roads for pedestrians and bicyclists. In each nation, massive majorities of individuals surveyed mentioned they wished “improved” public transport. That determine ranged from 70 p.c amongst Britons to 93 p.c amongst Nigerians.
The findings come amid a unprecedented world shock. Lockdowns supplied a brief reprieve from poisonous air in a number of the world’s most polluted cities, although in international locations that started to open up first, like China, pollution has crept back up, along with greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. The most important drivers of air air pollution are fuel and diesel-burning vehicles and vans, coal-fired energy vegetation and different industries that burn fossil fuels.
The massive query is whether or not there will probably be sufficient political momentum in these international locations, all of that are democracies, to compel lawmakers to enact air air pollution laws. In India, as an illustration, ageing coal-burning energy vegetation have repeatedly missed deadlines to scrub up.
The ballot discovered blended sentiments relating to punitive measures. On whether or not there must be extra clean-air zones the place the drivers of essentially the most polluting autos pay a congestion tax, Bulgarians, Indians and Nigerians had been overwhelmingly supportive, whereas individuals surveyed in Britain and Poland had been considerably much less supportive. Cities in Britain, notably London, have been among the many most formidable in enacting congestion taxes on polluting autos in metropolis facilities.
On a query about whether or not drivers must be charged a levy based mostly on how far they drive, solely a fourth of Britons and a 3rd of Poles had been in help, whereas almost 60 p.c had been in favor in India.
A separate survey requested residents of a number of European cities about their transportation want checklist. Greater than 60 p.c of individuals surveyed mentioned they supported setting apart extra street house for bus lanes in addition to bike lanes. However just one in 5 respondents mentioned they deliberate to experience bikes after the lockdown lifts. That survey was also conducted by YouGov and supported by an advocacy group referred to as Transport and Atmosphere.