Forest fires, litter, water pollution, and odorous animals were some of the environmental problems locals mentioned when Epoch Times reporters from Brno to Warsaw asked locals this week, “How clean is the environment where you live?”
Brno, Czech Republic
Radim Hanzlik, 32, Purchasing Manager
I’m living in the country near Brno. I think the environment has become better since the revolution*. I see fewer illegal dumps, less concrete, more green. It could be better, surely, but I suppose we’re in a good direction in this case.
Editor’s note: The Velvet Revolution broke Communist Party control over Czechoslovakia 20 years ago and replaced by democracy.
Ina Pedersen, 37, Cake Decorator
It is alright. It is fairly taken care of concerning litter and such. There is no pollution as far as I know. But I don’t know what cannot be seen. Behind that there maybe unpleasant surprises of environmental poisons. But that is something I cannot say anything about.
Kong Xinni, 16, Student
Living in the ‘clean and green’ country of Singapore, I find the level of cleanliness here quite acceptable and definitely better as compared to other countries. However, sometimes certain less urbanized areas are not as well maintained. This can be seen from the filthy piles of rubbish, vandalized walls, and the odor. Yet, as a whole, the environment in Singapore is above average.
Fiorenza Fiore, 41, Secretary
The environment is good and beautiful, but many people have their own chickens and other animals, also vegetables and fruit; in any case they are not very clean, especially when they have animals with their odors, etc. In addition, I see we have people who forget their minimal responsibility to their environment and do not protect our landscape and city. They throw many things on the ground and this is not good for us. In our community, we are thinking about organizing people to clean the ground and create a cleaner culture. On the other hand, we had in Castelnuovo dei Sabbioni [a region of Cavriglia] an important coal mine to generate energy. Many people say that the fumes from it were bad for our health. Nobody has researched it, but all the talk is about this. [The mine] provided work for our families and our people. Now they don’t use this coal and use other things.
Venelin Zhelev, 30, Logistics Specialist
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the cleanest, I would say 3. In my opinion, the biggest problem we are facing in Sofia is waste disposal. Although the city officials picked another contractor to do this job, the change has been slow to come. We haven’t yet built a waste recycling facility and everything is being transported to different parts of the country. As far as I know, the only waste recycling facility is located in Plovdiv—a city 140 km [87 miles] away from Sofia. Another problem I see is the limited amount of recreational facilities in our capital. The last few years of rampant construction and total disregard of zoning regulations destroyed playgrounds and parks that we all needed as Sofia residents. Let’s hope that in the future we’ll become more environmentally conscious and resolve the problems we created.
New York, USA
Martin Tinnaty, Retired
Some people clean the city, but it is not very clean—not very dirty, but also not very clean. In some places where I see too much garbage, I take it. People usually don’t do this, but it would be good if they did.
Karl Kiepe, 43
It depends on which location you compare it to. I live in Kassel and think that the environment is clean there. Kassel itself is a “green city” with quite a few “green initiatives”—the protection of the environment plays a huge role there. This is not the influence of the Green Party only, also other political parties do a lot for the protection of the environment, but the Green Party is very active.
Johnny Jansen, 29, Plumber
I am pretty satisfied. Woerden is a clean city compared with other cities. … The department for household water is spending a lot of effort to improve the waterside. They reinforced the sides, and dredged all the water in Woerden. I happen to know this because of my fishing. … We have many rules, like in my job, now we have to use different, more environmentally friendly materials with less zinc in them. It is more difficult to work with these and they are not so good but we have to use them. We have to help nature. We have a lot of rules in Holland, but you accomplish more with rules than relying on volunteer actions of people. People are too hasty. There was a slogan in a campaign a while ago “a better environment starts with yourself”—it never caught on very well, I think, but it is the truth.
Gold Coast, Australia
Neville Brown, 64, Taxi Driver
Well, I’m happy to say that I believe that the environment where I live is pretty clean, because I live on one and a quarter acres. It’s a corner block with an easement between me and my neighbor. That easement has water flowing through it. It’s a drainage system from up the hill. I see the council there regularly; I’d say it’s monthly. They take samples of that water; it gets tested. … I’m sad to say that it’s not like that everywhere on the Gold Coast where I live. I saw an area just recently down on Ferry Road, just off Southport. There’s a huge drain down there; it’s putrid. The council could do a lot, lot more with that.
West Kootenays, British Columbia, Canada
Pat Graham Kula, over 50, Construction Designer
Unless our forests are on fire, it’s a very clean environment. [I live] in the Arrow Lakes region of the Kootenays. It’s semi-remote, but it’s a very, very beautiful part of British Columbia [with] all hills and mountains, lakes, and rivers. There’s no high-density population. We have some water issues, which mainly go back to where the cattle are raised, because all of our systems are based on surface water. Other than that, we don’t have any air pollution unless there are forest fires, and we have a lot. We get a lot of lightning activities, probably because of the mountains, and that’s what starts our forest fires. We have very few started by people, because there is more lightning than people.
Anna Pulka, 25, Economist
Warsaw is a rather clean city. When I was on holiday in Greece, some time ago, there were a lot of people who threw their cigarettes on the beach and on the sidewalk, which is unthinkable in our city. Anyway, in Warsaw the environment is very clean, for somewhere around the last 10 years. It is hard to compare [to how it was before].
Athens, Greece (visiting from Finland)
Eerica Talus, 22, Student from Finland, visiting Greece.
Greece isn't as dirty as I thought it would be before I came.
Look for the Global Q & A column every week, when Epoch Times correspondents interview people around the world to learn about their lives and perspectives on local and global realities. Next week’s global question: “Is there anything you refuse to buy?”