“The results of this survey have helped us to better understand the impact of environmental education and awareness programmes conducted so far. This understanding will help us to plan future awareness efforts,” said Maisa Al Nuwais, Director of Environmental Awareness Sector, EAD.
The survey revealed that the overall level of awareness among the general public in Abu Dhabi Emirate stands at 49%, while the level of overall behavior stands at 44%.
The highest awareness was found to be among youth and the lowest was among younger children. Overall, women were found to be more aware than men, while the survey revealed that there is a variation between awareness and behavior among adults. This means that although some people demonstrated awareness, their behavior did not reflect this awareness.
The most commonly perceived environmental issues (the most talked about) in the UAE among the population were found to be Pollution, Traffic-related problems, Waste Generation and Disposal, Climate Change and Usage of plastic.
The survey revealed that hospital and hotel workers demonstrated a high level of awareness on Water and Energy.
People were most concerned about Energy, while Water ranked as their least concern. On the behavior side, pollution was the most important issue while water was the less important issue. However, some respondents had demonstrated some efforts and action in regards to water.
Out of the occupational groups in the Emirate, the most environmentally aware were fishermen, while traders in wildlife (CITES) were the least aware. The highest consistency in behavior was noted amongst farmers and the lowest among traders in wildlife (CITES).
Among the influencers in society, teachers displayed the maximum awareness while religious preachers, such as Imams, were the most concerned about the environment. Member of the media were most aware about global issues and teachers were most concerned about global issues. The media was cited by all targets as the main source of their environmental awareness and knowledge.
An independent consultant was commissioned to undertake this survey. The survey covered several environmental issues including water, waste/energy waste, biodiversity, pollution and global issues. 18 groups and a total of 2,263 samples from a balanced statistically representative population were interviewed. It included general questions as well as issue-based questions.
The public sample of the survey covered lower, upper primary students, secondary students, university students, adult men and adult women. The general public sample was carefully chosen on the basis of nationality, age group, gender, location, length of their stay in UAE and socio-economic class profile (for adults, youth and children).
The functional sample included fishermen, farmers, wildlife traders (CITES), falconers, hotels, hospitals, retail chains, corporate and industries. Among the influencer sample were members of the media, teachers and preachers. The questions, which were in both Arabic and English, were carefully designed to assess the awareness level, attitudes and behavior, interest and involvement as well as suggestions. The analysis and rate awareness levels were measured by using relevant statistical techniques and statistical soft wares, where answers were translated into a rating scale.
Awareness & Behavior of Farmers -Water Issue
-Most respondents though had good overall awareness on environmental impact of digging wells, excess water extraction and use of saline water in farming –they were relatively less aware of the ground water resources in UAE and how long they will last.
-A high majority of 80% agreed that there should be a limit on excess water extraction.
Awareness & Behavior of Farmers –Pesticides Issue
-Most respondents were also well aware of the precautions and problems of associated with usage of pesticide
-Usage behavior also was noted to be consistent with the awareness.
-However the responses given by workers indicated relatively lower rated behavior compare to owners particularly for storage and disposal of the pesticides and fertilizers indicating:
Awareness & Behavior of Farmers
-Most respondents displayed high satisfaction with the government supervisors visit frequency and quality of training- with most commenting on the training being simple ,clear and good.
-Awareness amongst farmers on environmental issues as well as its impact on their profession and farming was found to be good.
Awareness and Behavior of Fishermen
-All respondents had particularly good awareness on various bad impact of overfishing on marine life as well as environment.
-They were also well aware of endangered species. Most frequently mentioned species was Dolphin followed by Sharks
-63% respondents mentioned occasional accidental catching of marine wild life like dolphins and turtles.
-All respondents believed that Government should aid fishermen in such events in terms of advice and money.
-Awareness amongst fishermen on environmental issues as well as its impact on their profession and marine life was found to be quite high.
Awareness and Behavior of Falconers
-As high as 70% do not believe that trading of endangered species can cause impact on the environmental. However they agree that prohibiting and controlling hunting would be the best way to protect these endangered species.
-There is high awareness of regulations related to protection of the endangered species and the organizations involved in it like CITES.
-There was high awareness of Sheikh Zayed’s Falcon release program with as high as 30% also participating in it.
Awareness and Behavior of Wildlife Traders (CITES)
-Only 30% pet Shop traders believe that trading in endangered species affect the overall environment while 63% did not believe so and so and 20% were unsure.
-There is high awareness of regulations related to protection of the endangered species but few are familiar with names like CITES and EAD.
-Most agree that the regulations are for benefiting the animals but some mentioned some specific regulations leading them to conduct business at higher cost.
-Most consider main problems faced:
-lack of information and guidelines and advise
-sudden change/introduction of rule
-Most traders keep their workers informed on all issues related to endangered species handling and keep training them frequently as well as supervising whether they are following the regulations.
Sunday, June 15- 2008 @ 14:27 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.