Environmental considerations not topmost priority when shopping, survey finds

An NSO survey on World Environment Day shows that only 20% place environment as topmost priority when shopping but 62% try to avoid plastic packaging

Plastic bottles are the single-use plastic items bought most by householders
Plastic bottles are the single-use plastic items bought most by householders

Only one in five people consider the environment as topmost priority when shopping, a survey released by the National Statistics Office on Monday shows.

However, the findings also show that 62% of people involved in their household’s grocery shopping try to avoid plastic packaging, and 63% use reusable bags for shopping.

The survey on single-use plastics was carried out by the NSO for the Environment Ministry and results published to coincide with World Environment Day.

The results also show that 92% would consider buying alternative products with less packaging.

When asked what are the single-use plastic items they buy most, respondents identified bottles (79%), food wrappers (61%) and containers (51%).

Awareness that littering is a public offence is extremely high (97%), when respondents were asked to comment on several statements. On the flipside, 49% heard about the term micro-plastics and 47% are aware of the ministry’s Saving Our Blue campaign.

The survey also showed that 63% noticed an increase in alternatives to single-use plastic for sale but then 69% are not aware that cigarette butts consist of single-use plastic.

In fact, cigarette butts were the most commonly noted littered items found on beaches, according to 54% of respondents, followed by plastic beverage cups (18%).

Among smokers, 18% admit to disposing their cigarette butts on the ground, while 17% use the yellow bins on beaches.

Asked about the impacts of plastic on marine life, 50% said this was ‘very high’, followed by 33%, who said it was ‘high’, and 9% who said it was moderate.

World Environment Day is celebrated on 5 June and aims to raise awareness on environmental issues.