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Community views about the environment

Photo of children playing in Lake Taupo
The biggest environmental concern in the Waikato region is water pollution/quality.

In 2013, we surveyed people living in the Waikato to find out their awareness of, attitudes to and actions about environmental issues.

Just over a half of respondents (53 per cent) think the state of the local environment has stayed the same, while 29 per cent of respondents consider that the overall state of the local environment has improved over the last few years; and 17 per cent of respondents perceive it has deteriorated. 

In 2013, a larger proportion of respondents than in the 2006 survey and in all previous surveys state that the overall state of the local environment has stayed the same (a significant increase from 38 per cent in 2006 to 53 per cent in 2013).  Conversely, a smaller proportion of respondents feel that the overall state of the local environment has improved (down from 39 per cent in 2006 to 29 per cent in 2013) and a smaller proportion of respondents also state that that the overall state of the local environment has become worse (down from 22 per cent in 2006 to 17 per cent in 2013). 

Top environmental concerns

The top environmental issues for people in the Waikato are:

  • Water pollution/quality - 67 per cent
  •  Rubbish and recycling - 11 per cent
  • Drought – 5 per cent
  • Air pollution - 3 per cent
  • Town planning/urban sprawl/graffiti – 2 per cent
  • Other - (includes a range of issues mentioned by 1 per cent or less, for example the ozone layer and global warming).

Actions we're taking to help the environment

More people than in our previous surveys reported taking action to help the environment in the last year by:

  • recycling and getting family into recycling
  • saving water
  • composting
  • using a car less often (walk, bike, use bus more)
  • changing to energy saving lightbulbs
  • planting trees
  • picking up rubbish on roads and beaches
  • looking after water courses
  • planting own garden and growing vegetables
  • protecting/feeding native birds/fish and animals.

Healthy environment - healthy economy

Some environmental issues are complex, or people disagree about them, for example where the balance lies between economic growth and environmental protection.  But most people agree our economy depends on the goods and services - ecosystem services - our environment provides, and therefore a healthy economy requires a healthy environment.

You can do your bit for our region's environment
  • Find out more about your local environment (for example, join environmental groups).
  • Get involved in environmental issues (for example, make a submission on a plan).
  • Join or form a care group in your area, to look after and preserve the natural environment. Check out The Ripple Effect, to find out who's doing good stuff for the environment in your local area.
  • Do more things that are better for the environment (for example, compost your kitchen and garden waste).

For more results and information from this survey and earlier surveys, check out our social and economic indicators.