Press release №2141


  • The most pressing environmental issue is air pollution, according to the survey findings
  • 74% of respondents are aware of the “garbage reform”.

Air pollution and landfills are top Russian environmental concerns. 

MOSCOW, February 6, 2019. Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) presents the results of a study devoted to ecology.

Twenty-three percent of Russians have noticed improvements in ecological situation (assessing the situation in their city/location over the recent 5 years); 31% report deterioration. Today respondents tend to put the blame for the ecological situation on local (30%) and regional (23%) authorities. The share of those who blame people themselves is also high. Only 7% place responsibility on the federal bodies. The efforts of these bodies to tackle environmental issues are assessed ambiguously: 36% see certain results, though insufficient; 33% say there are no results.

The major environmental issues involve air pollution (22%), landfills (16%), pollution of rivers and lakes  (13%), untimely garbage collection (11%), tap water poor quality and  lack of greenery expansion in forests and parks (6%, each). At the same time, 21% of all respondents believe that there are no environmental problems of high priority today.

Seventy-four percent of respondents have heard of the “garbage reform”, however only 24% are well aware of it. According to Russians, the reform primarily consists in developing waste management systems (27%), raising the tariff rates (19%) and creating a Single Regional Operator (7%). More than half of Russians (58%) are satisfied with the situation in household waste recovery. They are opposed by 38% of respondents.

VCIOM-Sputnik survey was conducted on January 15, 2019. The survey involved 1,600 Russians aged 18 and over. The survey was telephone-based and was carried out using stratified dual-frame random sample based on a complete list of landline and mobile phone numbers operating in Russia. The data were weighted according to selection probability and social and demographic characteristics. The margin of error at a 95% confidence level does not exceed 2.2%. In addition to sampling error, minor changes in question wording and different circumstances arising during the fieldwork can introduce bias into the survey.

The 2009, 2010 results are based on household surveys.


In your opinion, how has the environmental situation changed in your area/location over the recent five years?  (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  2009 2010 2017 2018 2019
It has improved 10 10 24 25 23
No changes 43 43 39 44 44
It has deteriorated 41 43 35 27 31
Don’t know 6 4 2 4 2


In your opinion, who should be primarily responsible for the environmental situation in your area/location? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  2010 2017 2018 2019
Local authorities(city’s, district’s ) 23 25 29 30
Regional authorities (governor, head of administration or region) 14 23 25 23
People themselves 12 25 20 21
Special government bodies (Ministry of Nature, environmental police, Emercom, etc.)   17 8 10 8
Federal bodies, government in general 27 10 7 7
Non-profit  organizations including environmental organizations 2 2 3 3
Enterprises 2 3 2 3
Don’t know 3 4 4 5


How would you assess the efforts of the federal bodies to tackle environmental problems today?  (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents Moscow and St Petersburg Million cities 500-950,000 inhabitants   100–500,000 inhabitants <100,000 Rural area
The bodies do a lot to tackle the issues 10 13 7 6 9 9 12
There are some results but they are insufficient 36 32 47 37 42 29 34
There are no visible results; everything stays the same 33 30 25 31 30 39 33
The situation is even getting worse; problems are exacerbating 15 16 14 18 11 17 15
Don’t know 6 9 7 8 8 6 6


What is the major environmental problem in your area/location today? (open-ended question , not more than 3 answers, % of total respondents; only top answers)
  Total respondents
Air pollution 22
Landfills, garbage recycling 15
Pollution of rivers, lakes, shores 13
Too much garbage/no one collects waste; untimely collection 11
Not enough green space; lack of greenery, parks, forests 6
Poor quality of tap water 6
Other 13
No environmental problems 21
Don’t know 15



Since January 1st,  new regulations on solid household waste management have come into force (the so called “garbage reform”). Do you know/have you heard about it? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents
I am well aware of it 24
I heard something but I do not know any details 50
I have never heard of it until now 26


Based on what you know, can you tell what the “garbage reform” consists in? (open-ended question , not more than 3 answers, % of those who know or heard about “garbage reform”)
  % of those who know or have heard of the “garbage reform”
Positive and relatively neutral statements
Waste sorting 27
Establishment of “Single Regional Operator” 7
Construction of waste recycling plants 4
Waste management 4
Waste recycling 4
Organization of waste collection  3
Waste transportation to landfill sites 3
Environment protection 1
Elimination of illegal dumps 1
Negative statements
Tariff rise 19
Nothing will change/a reform not well thought through 1
Another corruption scheme 1
Other 1
Don’t know 17


Are you generally satisfied/dissatisfied with the situation concerning the collection and reuse of household waste in your area/location? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents) 
  Total respondents Moscow and St Petersburg Million cities 500-950,000 inhabitants  100–500,000 inhabitants <100,000 Rural area
Rather satisfied 58 71 54 59 56 57 58
Rather dissatisfied 38 28 40 39 41 40 38
Don’t know 4 1 6 2 3 3 4


Note: Using materials from the site or, as well as distributed by VCIOM, the reference to the source (or hyperlink for the electronic media) is obligatory!
  Results of our study
  In focus