EU barometer shows: citizens demand a healthy environment

The new Eurobarometer on Europeans and the environment is out. The results are very clear: 84% of EU citizens are worried about harmful chemicals. The same percentage agrees EU legislation is necessary to protect the environment. And 78% of citizens agree the environment has an effect on their health. This clearly shows that the majority of politicians - who oppose pesticide reduction - have lost touch with their base.

The message from EU citizens is clear: the toxic era must come to an end. The EU barometer results endorse the outcome of the European Citizen Initiative Save Bees and Farmers, where 1,1 Million voted for an 80% pesticide reduction by 2030 and a phase-out by 2035. The ECI also asks for the restoration of biodiversity and rewarding farmers to work with nature. 

78% of citizens consider the environment has an effect on their health

An average of 78% of Europeans think that the environment impacts their health. This is especially the case in Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Portugal and Italy, where between 88% and 98% of citizens are concerned about environmental impacts on their daily lives and health. This opinion is unchanged since 2019.

Citizens are worried, and they are right. Many pesticides for example have endocrine-disrupting effects. For this kind of chemical, there is no safe level of exposure. They are especially problematic for the most vulnerable: pregnant women and young children. Thanks to our actions, these products are slowly banned from our food, but the chemical industry and reluctant authorities keep delaying efficient action since many years. 

84% of citizens agree EU legislation is necessary to protect the environment

Restoring nature is one of the most important steps in protecting the environment. Without biodiversity, our health and the environment are threatened. Nature restoration was mentioned as the most important solution in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Estonia, Cyprus, and Bulgaria. And 78% of citizens think the EU should propose additional measures to address water-related problems. 

84% of citizens are worried about harmful chemicals

Another 84% of citizens are worried about the impact chemicals can have on their health as well as on the environment. Laws need to be adapted and strictly implemented to protect citizens from all sorts of toxic chemicals. Such as endocrine-disrupting pesticides, PFAS pesticides in waters, the most toxic 12 pesticides, etc.

Two European Citizen Initiatives, Ban Glyphosate and Save Bees and Farmers!, have asked for ambitious pesticide reductions. Yet, this major citizens' demands have so far remained unanswered.

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Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe) gratefully acknowledges the financial support from the European Union, European Commission, DG Environment, LIFE programme. Sole responsibility for this publication lies with the authors and the funders are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.