A recent Afrobarometer survey found out that more Namibians are calling on the government to ban the production and use of plastic bags.
The survey also says that where environmental-protection policies threaten jobs and incomes, Namibians are sharply divided on which should be prioritized.
Namibians say the benefits of natural resource extraction, such as jobs, outweigh negative impacts such as pollution by almost 2 to 1.
Still, most want the government to regulate natural resource extraction more tightly to protect the environment.
About four in 10 Namibians (39%) say droughts have become more severe over the past 10 years, with only half as many (18%) saying the same about floods.
Fewer than half (45%) of Namibians have heard of climate change. Among those aware of climate change, half (49%) say it makes life in Namibia worse.
At the same time, seven in 10 believe that ordinary citizens can help curb climate change (71%), and two-thirds (67%) want the government to take immediate action, even if it is expensive, causes job losses, or takes a toll on the economy.
Only small minorities are satisfied with efforts by the government (6%), business and industry (7%), developed countries (9%), and ordinary citizens (13%) to fight climate change.
On pollution and environmental governance, two-thirds (67%) of Namibians say pollution is a “somewhat serious” or “severe” problem in their community. Just 29% of the citizens say trash and plastic disposal, deforestation (19%), and human waste management (17%) are the most critical environmental issues in their community.
Six in 10 Namibians (60%) say the primary responsibility for reducing pollution and keeping communities clean rests with local citizens. Far fewer would defer that responsibility to their local governments (17%) or the national government (12%).
Two-thirds (67%) of citizens want the government to ban the production and use of plastic bags.
By almost 2 to 1, Namibians say the benefits of natural resource extraction, such as jobs and revenue, outweigh negative impacts such as pollution.
However, a large majority (70%) want the government to regulate natural resource extraction more tightly to reduce its negative impact on the environment.
Compared to 2017, the proportion who say droughts have gotten more severe has remained unchanged, while perceptions of worsening floods have decreased by seven percentage points.
Rural residents are more likely than urban residents to report increasingly severe droughts (46% vs 34%), perhaps reflecting a greater awareness of a lack of rainfall in more agricultural areas.
Economically well-off respondents (those experiencing no “lived poverty”) are less likely to see increasingly severe droughts or floods because they are more sheltered than their less-well-off counterparts.
Fewer than half (45%) of Namibians say they have heard of climate change. This is a 20-the percentage-point decline from 2019 (65%), reflecting high public awareness of the lack of rain – though not necessarily of “climate change” – in 2019.
Although the experience of severe drought is more common in rural areas, awareness of climate change is far lower among rural residents than urban residents (35% vs 52%). Poorer citizens are less familiar with “climate change” (38% among those with high lived poverty vs 50% among those with no lived poverty).
Citizens with at least secondary education are about twice as likely as the uneducated to have heard of climate change (45%-61% among those with secondary or post-secondary education vs 25% among those with no formal education).
Men are also slightly more aware of the concept than women (48% vs 43%).