Exploring environmental consciousness in South Africa
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This paper explores the relationships between perceptions, behaviors and awareness regarding four environmental conditions in South Africa: water pollution, land degradation, air pollution and littering. Data from the 2004 General Household Survey are used. First, the extent to which these perceptions, behaviors and levels of awareness correspond to those found in other parts of the world is assessed. Secondly, the importance of race and ethnicity and of socioeconomic status in differences and similarities in environmental perceptions, behaviors and awareness are analysed. African households are much more likely to perceive environmental problems than non-African households, but non-African households are more likely to take action in response to environmental problems and to be aware of environmental initiatives. Logistic regression analyses reveal that the particular circumstances of households are important in response to environmental issues. For example, households with access to land for agriculture are more likely to perceive land degradation as a problem than are households without access to land for agriculture. Education of household head is rarely important for perception of environmental problems, but education is usually important for whether the household takes action in response to an environmental problem and for awareness of environmental initiatives.