Air pollution, COVID top list of concerns this Diwali: Survey

In the top 10 pandemic hit states, air pollution, COVID-19 and economy have topped the list of concerns this Diwali, a public survey said on Wednesday

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IANS

In the top 10 pandemic hit states, air pollution, COVID-19 and economy have topped the list of concerns this Diwali, a public survey said on Wednesday.

From a sample size of 2,218 from 25-60 years of age and equally divided as male and female, 42.9 percent of the respondents said that coronavirus is the biggest concern this Diwali.

The second highest concern is air pollution that received 23.2 percent votes, followed by the economy at 19.5 percent, jobs at 7.1 percent, farmers' issue at 3.8 percent, while China is the least of their concerns at 3.4 percent.

The survey, conducted by CarbonCopy via Facebook, was administered in 10 states -- Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Kerala, West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

Aarti Khosla, publisher of CarbonCopy, told IANS, "It is not surprising that the pandemic has assumed the largest attention across all the 10 states surveyed. However, it is worth noting that the understanding of damages happening to both the economy and environment have been found to be equally of concern, with respondents rating these two issues fairly on top of their issues of concern.

"The survey clearly shows that the respondents in the worst pandemic affected states in India have called for an increased attention to addressing air pollution and economy as urgently as COVID-19.

"Luckily, fixing all three can be done together by incentivising and supporting industries that add to less pollution, add more jobs, help conserve forest and the biodiversity it supports."

CarbonCopy tracks industry development in the climate and energy sector.

Among the 10 states, respondents from West Bengal particularly feel that the government is not doing enough to deal with COVID-19. A majority of the respondents from all the other states feel that their government is doing enough to deal with the pandemic.

Apart from Uttar Pradesh, which remains undecided on whether the government is doing enough on air pollution, a majority of the respondents from the other states are not satisfied with the efforts of their governments in addressing air pollution.

More than 70 percent of the respondents who selected air pollution as their top concern this Diwali are from West Bengal, Kerala, Delhi and Karnataka, who are not satisfied with the government's response in tackling air pollution.

In Karnataka, the percentage is significantly high at 88 percent of the total respondents who picked air pollution as their top concern.

A majority of the respondents in all the 10 states surveyed are not satisfied with their government's efforts to address the problems related to the economy.

Respondents from West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, who are not satisfied with their government's response towards the economy, ranged between 75-88 percent.

"Having environmental issues on an equal footing to concerns about the economy shows a perception change, large part of which can be attributed to the pandemic. The survey also reveals that there is a significant understanding among Indians, between the unsustainable forms of development and its link with air pollution and the climate crisis," Khosla said.

"For a country where nearly a third of the population is vague about climate change, this is a high degree of understanding of the lived experience that a changing climate brings.

"With the COVID-19 pandemic still looming over our necks, response towards improving air quality needs to be on war footing," Khosla added.

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