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People think the environment’s in great shape

MEDIA RELEASE

Survey: People think the environment’s in great shape

For immediate release: Thursday 11 December 2003

A growing number of Bay of Plenty residents think the region’s environment is in great shape.

A survey of 1000 people by Environment Bay of Plenty has found that almost two thirds consider the natural environment to be in a good or very good state. That’s more than double the number who rated it so highly in a similar survey 11 years.

Environment Bay of Plenty senior strategic planner Shelley Hey notes a steady “trend in the right direction” in how people view the state of the environment. In 1992, 29% responded positively to the same question. In 1997 and 2000 it had risen to just over 50%. This year, it was 62%.

However Ms Hey warns that people’s perceptions do not necessarily match the reality. “Sometimes, there is a gap between how people perceive the state of the environment and how we, as a regional council, view it from the results of our monitoring,” she says.

The survey’s results will feed into Environment Bay of Plenty’s next State of the Environment report, due out in mid-2004. The council will then be able to compare the perceived and actual state of the Bay of Plenty environment, she says.

The survey queried people’s views on the way the environment was changing in the Bay of Plenty. While one third said it was getting better, another third felt it was the staying the same, and 27% thought it was getting worse. The replies had altered little since 2000.

The survey also revealed a growing awareness of the region’s water quality issues, particularly with the Rotorua lakes. Nearly half the people questioned named Lake Rotoiti as the most damaged waterway, twice the number from three years ago. Farming practices was thought to be the most common cause of Lake Rotoiti’s pollution.

The survey helps the regional council to gain a greater understanding of people’s views, opinions and priorities on environmental issues. It includes questions about people’s awareness of environment issues, their attitudes and knowledge, and what they consider the role of Environment Bay of Plenty in caring for the region’s environment.

The results will help guide the regional council in future planning, communications and environmental education.

ENDS

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