Adáma – What are the top 3 environmental challenges that Eleusis is facing?

Here are the results of the survey done by MENTOR

The first two phases of the project “Adáma” – sustainability in the hands of the community”, which involved research on the environmental issues of Eleusis, experiential discussions and sociodrama sessions with the community, have been successfully completed. Currently, we are already on track for the third and final phase of the project, the drafting of a collective strategic proposal.

In the previous phases, we worked with local citizen groups, namely EcoEleusis, the Elefsina Cycling Group and the “New Switzerland” Workers’ Housing Association and applied participatory practices, such as experiential walks and sociodrama, to “co-identify” local environmental challenges and “co-imagine” the future of a sustainable and more inclusive city.

The experiential actions aim to “co-sense” the way in which these environmental challenges define and affect the daily lives of residents and to deepen the way in which social groups react – as a whole – to the environmental challenges that  the residents of Eleusis and the wider region have to face. 

Adama’s principal ambition is to mobilize the local community to actively participate in civic affairs, starting with the area’s current environmental challenges. 

The survey conducted by MENTOR in the past few months has produced the following results:

87.3% of all respondents answered that “they were informed” about local environmental issues,  with the main sources of information being social media (93%), family/friends (55%) and local environmental organizations (50%). Other sources of information include the press (33%), scientific publications (30%), governmental agencies (25%), television (20%), seminars, workshops and documentaries (14%).

86% of the respondents consider citizen participation in addressing local environmental issues to be “important” or “very important”, reflecting the need for further diversification in decision-making processes, as well as the belief that the future of planning, as a process, lies in more participatory and democratic procedures.

In regards to the most important environmental problems of Eleusis and the wider area, the results of the survey showed that the top issue is sea and water pollution (87%) due to the area’s industrial activity and the sewage system, followed by pollution from industrial activity (84%), and air pollution/exhaust gases/odour (84%), also due to industrial activity and the high volume of vehicles in the area. Other environmental issues with relatively high percentages were human indifference by 60%, lack of greenery/forest destruction by 53%, coastal pollution and waste management by 50% each.

The impacts of climate change in Eleusis acknowledged as “very significant” are the alteration / destruction of monuments, the rise in temperature, and the reduction of drinking water supplies.

Ranked as “very important” are local climate change, landscape alteration/degradation, and the increase in severe weather events. 

82% of the survey participants consider that there should be planning in order to address the impacts of climate change, as well as organised adaptation to the new climate conditions.

Focusing on these 3 main environmental challenges, the question “to what extent do you think that the urban and natural environment of the city is shaped by the respective environmental problem at hand?” was answered as follows:

  • As far as marine pollution was concerned, 82% of the respondents stated that it is shaped “a lot” by it, while 15% answered “quite a lot”. 
  • For air pollution, 87% consider that air pollution is shaping the urban and natural environment of the city ”very much”, and 11% consider that it is shaping the urban and natural environment of the city “a lot”.
  • Furthermore,  92% believe that  industrial activity shapes it “a great deal”, while 6% answered “quite a lot”. 

Regarding the environmental protection measures and controls that ensure the implementation and compliance with the legal framework, it was said that decisions should be taken: 

  • by the Government 74% 
  • by the Municipality 73% 
  • by the Region 70% 
  • by the EU 62% 

while 42 % of the participants consider that citizens’ groups should also be involved.

Moreover, 89% of the respondents believe that human health is directly linked to the external environment and its quality.

Finally, when asked to name the biggest strengths of Eleusis, they responded 

“Its Archaeological site” and, by extension, its ancient history and cultural background, its “proximity to the sea and the coastal front”, the “title of the European Capital of Culture for 2023” its multicultural background and its “labour history”.

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