More people find the environment highly polluted

© Hollandse Hoogte / Peter Hilz
In 2017, over half of the adult population in the Netherlands indicated that air, soil and water are severely polluted. Three-quarters believe that the natural environment has been seriously damaged. This number is higher compared to five years previously. There is also an increased willingness to pay for a better environment. However, public concerns about the environment have remained virtually unchanged. This is shown by new figures of Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on the basis of a survey on perceptions.

In Perceptions 2017, adults are asked about their stance on several environmental issues. The same questions and statements were presented in a survey in 2012. In 2017, 55 percent of the respondents indicated that air, soil and water are severely polluted, versus 40 percent in 2012. In addition, 75 percent indicated last year that nature has been damaged seriously, against 59 percent in 2012. In 2017, more people also said they are willing to pay higher taxes for the sake of a better environment: 34 percent, against 24 percent in 2012.

Opinions on nature and the environment (% of persons aged 18 yrs or older)
 (Completely) agreeNeutral(Completely) disagree
Air, soil and water are severely polluted
201755.23014.8
201239.937.222.9
Nature has been seriously damaged
201775.4177.6
201259.125.115.8
Willing to pay more taxes for a
better environment
201734.226.339.5
201224.32253.7

Almost 9 in 10 adults concerned about environment

Although more people think the environment is contaminated and nature has been damaged, the share of people concerned about these effects has hardly changed. In 2017, 85 percent expressed their concern about the environment, almost the same percentage as in 2012. However, the nature of their concerns is different: of the concerned adults in 2017, nearly 43 percent reported that they mainly worry about the global environment, while 6 percent were mainly concerned about the environment in their own surroundings. More than half were concerned about both. In 2012, most people were concerned about the global environment (64 percent).

Nature of concerns about the environment (% of persons aged 18 yrs or older with concerns about the environment)
 Mainly own surroundingsMainly global environmentBoth
20176.242.651.2
20126.463.929.7

High-income earners more willing to pay more for environment

Compared to people on lower incomes, those who earn a higher income are less inclined to say that air, soil and water are severely polluted and that serious damage has been done to the natural environment. On the other hand, they are willing to pay higher taxes for a better environment. In the highest income group, 43 percent are willing to pay extra taxes, against around 30 percent of the other income groups. The extent to which adults are concerned about the environment barely appears to correlate with their income.

Willingness to pay more taxes for a better environment, 2017 (% of persons aged 18 yrs or older)
 (Completely) agreeNeutral(Completely) disagree
Total34.226.339.5
Income group
Fourth quartile (highest incomes)42.92730.1
Third quartile31.326.342.4
Second quartile28.827.643.7
First quartile (lowest incomes)30.123.746.2

Women more likely to notice environmental damage, but less willing to pay

Relatively more women than men find that air, soil and water are heavily contaminated (60 against 50 percent) and that nature has been severely damaged (78 against 73 percent). Women are also slightly more concerned about the environment (88 percent, against 83 percent of men). On the other hand, they are less willing to pay more taxes to improve the environment: 31 percent, against 37 percent of men.