Americans’ concern about several major environmental threats has eased, as they are still more worried about air and water pollution than about global warming, a Gallup poll released Wednesday found.
The top environmental concern for Americans remains the pollution of the drinking water, with 55 percent of the surveyed expressing worry about it, down five percentage points from 2014. Meanwhile, 47 percent of Americans are concerned about the pollution of rivers, lakes and reservoirs, down six percentage points, the March 5-8 poll discovered.
The biggest slide is the Americans’ concern about air pollution, at 38 percent, and about loss of tropical rain forests, at 33 percent, both down eight percentage points from 2014.
The concern about extinction of plant and animal species reduced to 36 percent from 41 percent, while the concern about global warming or climate change declined to 32 percent from 34 percent, according to the poll.
Despite ups and downs from year to year in the percentage worried about the various issues, the rank order of the environmental problems has remained fairly consistent over the decades.
The poll showed that Americans express greater concern over more immediate threats, such as air and water pollution, than they do about longer-term threats such as global warming, the loss of rain forests, and plant and animal extinction.
Importantly, even as global warming has received greater attention as an environmental problem from politicians and the media in recent years, Americans’ worry about it is no higher now than when Gallup first asked about it in 1989.
The diminished concern about environment threats has both positive and negative aspects for those favoring tougher environmental policies and regulations, Gallup said.
It may mean the policies and regulations in place are working to protect Americans from environmental threats. However, because Americans are less concerned about environmental matters in general, they may be less willing to support policy changes to make those regulations even tougher, it added. Enditem