Great lack of information and dissatisfaction among citizens regarding water protection and inspection of natural resources
There is a great lack of information and dissatisfaction among the citizens of Macedonia regarding water protection and inspection supervision of the use of natural resources, according to a survey of the Institute of Communication Studies conducted at the end of last year, as part of the advocacy and lobbying campaign “Clear it Up”.
As many as 72% of the respondents believe that they are not informed about environmental inspections, and 63% expressed their dissatisfaction with the work of the inspection services. Regarding the way water is managed, 64% of the respondents stated that they are not informed by public institutions, and almost half (46%) said that they are not satisfied with the work of the institutions that manage water resources.
More than half of the respondents (57%) are not informed about the water quality in the municipality in which they live and a high percentage (94%) believe that it is important to constantly monitor surface water and groundwater. Despite these numbers, 60% of respondents rate drinking water in their municipality as good-quality, and 53% of those living in rural areas also rate irrigation water as good-quality water.
According to the respondents, the major sources of pollution of the water in Macedonia are the citizens (42%), the manufacturing industry (33%) and mining facilities (10%). 10% of respondents believe that both citizens and industry are the biggest polluters. The majority of respondents (79%) believe that water polluters are not being penalized and a very high percentage (92%) believe that it is important to create a cadaster (register, database) of water users and water polluters. The better part of respondents (62%) believe that those who excavate sand, gravel and stone from riverbeds and shores without permission or excessively are not being sanctioned. About half of the respondents (45%) stated that the procedures for issuing permits for excavation of sand, gravel and stone are not public, citing floods (63%), land erosion (50%) and the occurrence of groundwater (35%) as negative consequences of illegal and excessive excavation. However, the majority of respondents (89%) said that, so far, they have not been involved in the water management decision-making process at all. Only 4% were involved in public debates and the same number participated in working groups related to water resources.
Almost half of the respondents (48%) said they would use an online application to report environmental pollution. Many of the respondents (82%) have not yet been involved in any initiative regarding water quality or against pollution of watercourses and excavation of sand, stone and gravel from riverbeds and coastal areas. Concerning those who have been involved in an initiative, 38% of them did so because they personally noticed a problem, 27% did so because there was a request or petition to a public institution and 18% did so due to a call for field action of citizens.
The survey was conducted in the period from November 30 to December 6, 2020 and it included 1100 respondents over the age of 18. The purpose of the survey was to examine the views of citizens on the problems on which the campaign “Clear it Up” focuses – the use and protection of water and the effectiveness of inspections on the utilization of natural resources. The Advocacy and Lobbying Campaign “Clear it Up” is implemented by the Institute of Communication Studies and is supported by the British Embassy in Skopje.
See the full survey report HERE.