The Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM) conducted a survey aimed at identifying and measuring citizens’ attitudes about key environmental issues, as one of the most pronounced problems today. The research was conducted on a sample of 1004 respondents, which is representative of the entire adult population of Montenegro, and on the other hand, presented only those who live in six municipalities in the north: Pljevlja, Zabljak, Savnik, Bijelo Polje, Mojkovac and Berane , in order to have a sufficient number of respondents in each of the municipalities and thus ensure the accuracy of the measured attitudes.
When it comes to the importance of environmental problems in the world, Montenegro and their local environment, citizens equally (49.5%) assess the severity of environmental problems, both in the world and in Montenegro and the municipality in which they live. Most citizens perceive the problems in the world to be more worrying in relation to Montenegro and their municipality, except for those who live in Pljevlja, Nikšić and Plav.
Climate change, as one of the biggest problems of environmental protection, is considered by most citizens to be, to a greater or lesser extent, a very pronounced problem. When analyzing data by municipalities, the citizens of Herceg Novi, Bar and Budva point out this problem the most, and the citizens of Ulcinj, Tivat and Plav the least.
Although every fourth citizen often watches shows on environmental issues, citizens living in the observed municipalities in the north are less aware of the media that treat this issue than those living in other municipalities, so the data show that the most active citizens are Bar and Herceg Novi, and the least active citizens of Plav and Cetinje. On the other hand, the largest number of citizens (44.2%) believe that this topic is being discussed, but that it should be more frequent.
In the research, we asked the respondents a question regarding the biggest environmental problems that concern citizens, and we came to the conclusion that citizens express high concern for a large number of problems. The data indicate that there are large differences between municipalities in terms of assessing the biggest environmental problems. For example, in Bijelo Polje, the biggest problem is waste disposal, and in Berane, in addition to this, the problem of waste spilling into rivers is also significant. In Pljevlja, the thermal power plant is the most pronounced problem, while in Podgorica the biggest problem is the spillage of waste into rivers and waste disposal. In Niksic, citizens are most worried about air pollution due to exhaust gases and plastic disposal. In Cetinje, Herceg Novi, Ulcinj, Bar, Budva, Tivat, Kotor and Rozaje, waste disposal is also a big problem. The citizens of Plava and Tuzi are most worried about the problem of illegal landfills and air pollution, while the citizens of Savnik and Zabljak are most worried about deforestation. When comparing the biggest environmental problems in the six municipalities in the north with other municipalities, the most prominent problems are thermal power plants, deforestation and air pollution due to exhaust gases.
The largest number of citizens (49.4%) believe that politicians, as one of the main actors in environmental protection, do not talk about this topic often enough. This further initiates that they consider them the main culprits for inefficient environmental policy, because they do not consider this topic important enough, and therefore they rarely talk about it in public.
Every third citizen believes that the Government and its ministries, and every fourth that the citizens are the most responsible when it comes to environmental protection. In the survey, citizens especially assessed the contribution of key institutions when it comes to the results in terms of the fight for environmental protection, where they rated best NGOs (41.9%), media (39.5%) and international organizations (34.7%). ). Private companies (15.6%), state-owned companies (19.2%) and parliament (19.2%) were rated the worst.
We also measured the attitudes of citizens about the environment, and the research showed that we measure the highest level of environmental awareness in Kotor (61%) and Herceg Novi (60%), and the lowest in Plav (28%) and Niksic (31%).
Finally, the level of education significantly affects environmental awareness, and members of the older generation have a lower level of environmental awareness, which is an indicator that measurable progress has been made in terms of media placement, discussion and education for environmental benefits among younger generations.
This research was conducted with the key goal of creating a platform for a more skillful and efficient fight for a healthier environment, which is the responsibility of all citizens, the political establishment, marketing and the media. Also, RTV Pljevlja will in the coming period realize the show “Eco Zone” in order to discuss with relevant interlocutors from Montenegro and the region the results of this research, and offer recommendations for improvement in this area.
The research was conducted within the project “Media Center for Environmental Reporting” conducted by RTV Pljevlja, CEDEM and Green Home with the support of the European Union in Montenegro and the Ministry of Public Administration of Montenegro.