Sociological Survey «The attitude of Russians to environmental problems»

Sociological Survey «The attitude of Russians to environmental problems»

April 2020

The environmental agenda is becoming more and more relevant around the world, but what is the situation in Russia? Are Russian citizens concerned about the country’s environmental challenges in general and water resources challenges in particular? Is the population ready to contribute to handle these challenges and what is their attitude towards non-profit environmental nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)? To answer these and other questions important for environmental organizations, Lake Baikal Foundation initiated a comprehensive public opinion survey carried out by OMI (Online Market Intelligence) as part of the ESOMAR Research Got Talent Russia 2020 competition.


  • to assess the awareness and interest of the Russian population in the country’s environmental problems in general and water resources problems in particular.


  • to assess the level of awareness and interest of the Russian population in environmental problems;
  • to assess the level of awareness and interest of the Russian population in water resources problems;
  • to assess the level of Russian population’s involvement/intentions of participation in environmental initiatives;
  • to find out the attitude of the Russian population towards environmental NGOs;
  • to understand how popular ecotourism is among the population of Russia;
  • to present the results of the research in the Russian media and in the relevant government bodies.

What was done:

  • 2218 respondents were interviewed, men and women aged 18 and over, from all regions of Russia.


  • the survey results showed that among the environmental problems Russians are concerned most about water pollution (43%) along with air pollution (44%), waste disposal (43%) and deforestation (28%);
  • the most important “water” problem in Russia according to respondents is pollution of surface waters (rivers, lakes, seas). 51% of the respondents noted this particular problem as the most pronounced, the next is the insufficient level of wastewater treatment (46%), as well as groundwater pollution and eutrophication of water bodies (36% each);
  • despite the awareness of the importance of the problem of water pollution in our country, only half of those who consider it significant (91% of respondents) feel informed on this issue and only 19% of those who are aware of it take any action towards its solutions. 75% of the respondents think that the main responsibility on this issue should be assigned to state authorities;
  • in general, the respondents believe that environmental problems have an impact on the deterioration of public health rather than not. For example, 51% of the respondents assessed highly the link between environmental degradation and the increase in the number of people suffering from cancer, allergies and cardiovascular diseases;
  • it turned out that 74% of the respondents have a good attitude towards environmental NGOs, and slightly more than half (56%) of all respondents trust environmental NGOs. Moreover, most often a positive assessment, as well as trust, is more inherent to younger people (under 35). More than a third of the respondents found it difficult to answer this question, and 10% directly expressed their distrust;
  • the main reason for the negative attitude and mistrust towards environmental NGOs is a lack of understanding of the essence of their activities and the lack of complete, reliable information on this. In the opinion of the respondents themselves, the opportunity to see a photo or video report on the work carried out, as well as the fact of participation of professional ecologists and scientists in the activities of the organization, can increase the level of trust in NGOs;
  • among all the activities of environmental NGOs, Russians consider to be the most attractive the followings: the efficient use of natural resources, an increase in utilization of production and consumption waste (including recycling) (60% of the respondents); prevention of water pollution, restoration of aquatic ecosystems (56%); prevention and reduction of air pollution in cities and other settlements (51%);
  • 27% of Russians would like to see more NGOs involved in the protection of water resources. For comparison, 12% of the respondents spoke in favor of an increase in the number of NGOs dealing with air pollution and waste disposal, and 11% – in favor of an increase in the number of NGOs involved in forest protection;
  • 66% of respondents declared their readiness to support NGOs by participating in promotions when purchasing various goods if they are not overpriced. However, the number of those who are ready to make donations to environmental NGOs is almost twice less (24%) than those who are not ready (43%). People under 35 y.o. demonstrate higher interest to this topic comparing to older people;
  • about a quarter of the surveyed Russians aware of ecological tourism, however, 59% of respondents have no experience of ecotourism and do not plan to acquire it any time soon;
  • the rationale behind the ecotouristic trips for 70% of respondents was the desire to see unique nature, reasons for 32% and 28% of respondents were gaining new experience and improving health, respectively, and 17% chose this type of tourism because of concern for nature/ecology;
  • those who already have experience in ecotourism believe that the main barriers to this type of vacation are the high cost of the trip and the lack of information for planning it. 64% of those who do not have ecotourism experience believe that more affordable travel costs could serve as an incentive for them to acquire ecotourism experience.
  • those who already have experience in ecotourism named the resort “Rosa Khutor” (24%), the Baikal State Reserve (13%), and the national park “Krasnoyarsk Pillars” (9%) to be the most visited destinations.

Detailed results in figures and graphs are presented in the presentation (in Russian).


Каждый второй россиянин считает загрязнение водоемов острой проблемой, +1, 10.07.2020

Исследование: 56% россиян доверяют фондам, которые занимаются экологическими проблемами, Такие дела, 02.07.2020  

Партнер АСИ узнал отношение россиян к экотуризму, АСИ, 29.06.2020 

Partnership for Sustainable Development