Air pollution: three out of four French people worry about their children

Air pollution: three out of four French people worry about their children

The French are aware of the extent of pollution, but also of the impact it can have on their health, particularly that of young children. According to a survey, almost half of French people say they have already taken action to reduce pollution where they live, for example by reducing daily car use or changing their cleaning products.

Carried out for the Respire association in the run-up to National Air Quality Day on Saturday October 14, this Kantar survey shows that, overall, the French people surveyed say they are satisfied with the quality of the air of their living space: 65% consider it “good”. However, this is not the case in the Paris metropolitan area, where 31% of residents consider the air quality to be poor. Air pollution is also a subject that the French do not hesitate to talk about among themselves: almost one in two French people say they discuss it “from time to time” with their loved ones. However, the question seems less often raised with health professionals, since a majority of respondents say they “never talk about it” with their doctor.

However, they are not fooled by the impact of pollution on health. For example, nearly nine out of ten French people are aware of the fact that infants and children are the most vulnerable to air pollution. This is particularly the case for parents of young children: three quarters of them say they are “worried”. For 24% of French people surveyed, air pollution spontaneously brings to mind respiratory illnesses, other health problems (20%) or even environmental degradation (20%).

Change maintenance products, reduce daily car use…

If the French seem well informed about the health and environmental consequences of the spread of fine particles, they however seem less aware of what causes it. Asked about the sources of pollution in the place of life, 83% of participants cited industry followed by air transport (78%), automobiles (75%) and maritime transport (71%). Only 41% of respondents associate PM2.5 pollution with thermal vehicles and 26% with domestic heating, even though it essentially comes from these two sources. Wood heating, for example, is responsible for 62% of PM2.5 emissions.

“There is still important educational work to be carried out. The French have a strong awareness of the problem and are ready to make efforts. It is therefore now essential to give them the right benchmarks so that they can act effectively in “attacking the real source of the problem. It is also up to the State to give the right political impetus to encourage this action”, considers Tony Renucci, general director of the Respire association.

To improve the air quality of their place of residence (whether it is their city of residence or their accommodation), the French have already taken action or say they are ready to do so. Among them, 46% say they have changed their cleaning products, 45% say they have reduced their daily car use and 40% have changed their household appliances. A quarter of them (26%) have even undertaken home renovation work, while 70% plan to do so.