Tunisians are aware of climate change effects but are poorly informed about (Afrobarometer)

Tunisians are aware of the effects of climate change but are poorly informed about it, according to a survey on the environment and climate change conducted by Afrobarometer, a Pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, the economy, and society.


The survey conducted between February 21 and March 17, 2022, among a sample of 1,200 Tunisians (+18 years) by the Afrobarometer team in Tunisia led by the marketing studies and opinion polls institute “One to One for Research and Polling,” revealed that only 22% of the surveyed citizens had heard of climate change, said Director and co-founder of the institute Youssef Meddeb.


He recalled in this regard, that this rate is the lowest in a list of 14 African countries.


By way of example, this rate stands at 70% in Gabon, 62% in Cameroon, 48% in Senegal, 44% in Côte d’Ivoire and 30% in Nigeria.


This rate, Meddeb explained, indicates the level of public discourse in the country.


Indeed, in Tunisia, the most educated (37%), the inhabitants of Greater Tunis (35%) and the most affluent (32%) are more likely to be aware of climate change.


These data had been compiled through face-to-face interviews in the respondent’s own language with nationally representative samples and margins of error of +/-3% and a confidence level of 95%, the official pointed out.


The survey showed that the majority of those who are informed about climate change consider that the phenomenon is making life worse for Tunisians (84%) and that the primary responsibility for mitigating its impacts lies with rich, developed countries (53%) and the government.


A majority (59%) also agree that ordinary citizens can play an important role in efforts to combat climate change and that the government should take urgent action against the problem (71%).


Seven out of 10 Tunisians (69%) say that droughts have become more severe over the past 10 years and only 14% of citizens feel the same way about floods, said One to One co-founder Imen Mezlini.


According to the sample, droughts are more perceived by people living in rural areas and in the centre and south.


Pollution is a serious environmental problem and joins waste management among the country’s most important environmental issues, the survey found.


In fact, nearly 9 out of 10 Tunisians (88%) consider that pollution problems such as waste/garbage accumulation or water quality damage are serious in their communities, including 76% who consider them “very serious,” according to the same source.


Plastic bags are a major source of pollution according to the majority of Tunisians (79% of the sample), followed by pollution of water sources, human waste management and air pollution.


On the other hand, Tunisians remain divided as to whether to protect the environment at the expense of job creation (45%) or job creation at the expense of environmental protection (44%).


When it comes to the extraction of natural resources that take place near their communities, the large majority (83%) of Tunisians want more environmental regulation, the survey showed.


About half of citizens affirm that the advantages outweigh the environmental costs (48%), but that ordinary citizens do not have a say in the decisions made (48%) and that communities do not get a fair share of revenues (49%).


Previous surveys were conducted in Tunisia in 2013, 2015, 2018 and 2020.


Eight rounds of surveys have been conducted in up to 39 countries since 1999. The Round 9 surveys (2021/2022) are underway.


Source: Tap News Agency