Perceptions and Behaviour towards Environment among High School Students in Kancheepuram District, Tamil Nadu: a Cross-sectional Study
Keywords:Environmental attitude, environmental behaviour, environmental literacy, energy efficiency, waste recycling
The world today encounters a wide range of environmental challenges such as climate change, water shortages, air pollution and loss of biodiversity. Technological advancements and resultant human activities through the years have caused significant disruption of environmental sustainability. Apart from collaborative efforts involving all stakeholders, individual environmental literacy and appropriate behaviour is the need of the hour. Considering the significant paucity of environmental surveys in the last decade, this study was planned to identify perceptions and behaviour towards environment among high school students in Kancheepuram district, Tamil Nadu.
Materials and Methods
This was a cross-sectional study conducted among students of classes 11 and 12, as part of an environmental education programme for school children between November and December 2018. A pretested, semi-structured questionnaire was used to assess perceived awareness and attitudes on selected environmental issues and extent of environment-friendly behaviour among individuals and their families.
The results revealed that students had better awareness about local environmental issues such as water scarcity and air pollution, while awareness on broader issues like global warming and nuclear waste was inadequate. The majority opinion was that most of these issues were bound to worsen in future. Consistent positive behaviour was observed in environmental activities which involved low cost, fewer restrictions and tangible benefits.
Students imbibe opinions and practices from their families. Hence their perceptions and behaviour could be reflective of the community they belong. Targeted information with field-based environmental conservation activities is imperative to inculcate positive perceptions and behaviour among students. Students being best ambassadors of health could instil the same in their families, improving the environmental literacy of the communities.
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