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HT Youth Survey: Global warming does not bother Patna

About the greenhouse effect - the warming of earth by radiation from the atmosphere, 93.3% respondents from both Patna and Ranchi do not know what it means.

youth survey Updated: Oct 14, 2017 11:05 IST
HT Correspondent
Melting glaciers are a clear sign of climate change and global warming.
Melting glaciers are a clear sign of climate change and global warming. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A sizeable population of youngsters between 18 and 25 in Patna and Ranchi don’t know what biodegradable waste is – at a time when recycling of garbage had become synonymous with the Swachh Bharat or Clean India Campaign. Is wielding a broom enough when swathes across the country cannot define renewable energy or greenhouse effect?

Jaipur (63.3%), Indore (51%) and Ahmedabad (44.6%) are among cities where youngsters have some awareness of environment-friendly concepts.

In Chandigarh and Indore, 41.7% and 41.3% youngsters can accurately identify renewable energy as energy from sources such as the sun, wind, rain and geothermal heat. In Patna and Ranchi, 90% and 88% respondents say they do not understand such concepts.

Quiz: When compared to the Indian youth, how concerned are you about the environment?

About the greenhouse effect - the warming of earth by radiation from the atmosphere, only 41% respondents from Chandigarh and 39.1% from Ahmedabad define it correctly. Again, 93.3% respondents from both Patna and Ranchi do not know what it means.

Mihir Mathur, former fellow, Earth Science and Climate Change Division at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), says students interested in environmental issues rely heavily on information and data available on the internet. They are also very well travelled and networked which helps them stay connected with ground reality. “But their ability to truly think out of the box and develop real innovative solutions remains limited. This is because most of their thinking and solution development is shaped based on the readings from text books, literature and the science of climate change,” he says.

Interestingly, just 20% of the survey respondents — 47.1% of them from Hyderabad, 43.3% from Chandigarh and 40.2% from Ahmedabad — are familiar with eco-friendly products.

Mathur, who is visiting faculty at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad, and the Indian School of Development Management, Noida, finds that his students have “an air of activism about them . They want to change things. They are optimistic and enthusiastic. Key traits required in youth in order to show promise. They are much more aware than the previous generations and very curious.”

As for the survey, taking the mean from responses (below 3: Disagree; 3.1 to 4: Agree and 4.1 to 5: Strongly agree) the responses reveal that the only thing people do to save energy is switch off lights when they leave home (3.9). Most of them are from Delhi (4.7), Kochi (4.3) and Ahmedabad (4.2).

Avoiding plastic bags is prioritised by youngsters in Ahmedabad (4.3) followed by Kochi (4.1) and Bengaluru (4).

When it comes to separating dry and wet waste in their households, Bengaluru responds with a 4.4. People in Delhi at 2.7 are not very enthusiastic about recycling waste.