This mild negative scoring system was used to distinguish participants who did not know the answer and those who made an error. This approach has been adopted in various past research [ 38 39 , 41 ]. In Section C, scores on various statements related to environmental protection attitudes were determined from the 5-point Likert scale answers. A higher score indicates a more positive attitude. Statements 2, 5, 7, 11, 12, 14 and 18, which refer to negative attitudes towards environmental protection, were reverse scored. We initially intended to develop a scale for measuring the level of support for environmental protection.
A lack of homogeneity in the items that comprise a scale cause reliability errors. It is assumed that the items on a scale are a random sample of all possible items that could measure a certain attribute; thus, those items should be highly correlated. While judgment on an ideal value of alpha needs to be made on a case to case basis, it is commonly understood in the social sciences that good alpha values should be between.
For this reason, results will be mainly presented based on descriptive rather than inferential statistics. This level of alpha, which is greater than. Our conative component is composed of items referring to the willingness to pay WTP for environmental protection. They were administered for the first time to a Malaysian sample as a cluster. In addition to being used in a new culture for the first time, the scale is composed of only five items. Thus, the five items composing WTP were treated as a scale, and, with regards to this scale, inferential statistics was used in addition to descriptive statistics to produce more insightful results.
The associations of all demographic factors the independent variables on awareness and attitude scores were analysed using a univariate analysis in the form of t-tests, chi-squared tests of association or ANOVA tests.
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The sample characteristics are summarized in Table 2. Most of the respondents were between 21—55 years old The employment status of the entire sample was primarily student Household vehicle ownership was high among the entire sample The proportion of Chinese, Malay and Indian races was approximately The populations from KV and IM differed significantly in only two demographic parameters. Other variables such as employment status, income, age and parenthood did not vary significantly between the two populations.
Respondents from IM reported significantly fewer cases of air pollution-caused respiratory disease among the household 6. Vulnerability to air pollution might have influenced perception in respondents. Perception levels reported among levels of a parenthood, b sickness and c hospitalization; x-axis indicates percentage. To obtain a more comprehensive picture of how respondents perceive the air quality, respondents were asked to rank which factor they believed contributes the most to the air pollution at their residential areas.
The awareness scores among different demographic variables was statistically tested and is summarized in Table 3.
Female respondents had significantly lower awareness than males 3. Factors such as age, income, employment sector, education level, income and parenthood had no significant effect on awareness level. Attitude statements consisted of a mix of statements that were pro environmental protection and statements that placed environmental protection as unimportant or secondary to something else, such as economic growth Fig 5a, 5b and 5c.
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The mean scores for the statements for environmental protection were all greater than 3. More than 80 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with both of these statements Fig 5a. The proportion of participant responses for each question is shown in the chart.
The statements against environmental protection b were reverse scored, with the strongly disagree response correlating with the highest pro-environmental opinion. Fig 5.
Mean pro-environmental scores are shown next to each question on a scale of 1—5. Pro-environmental opinions are indicated by shades of green in all panels. There was broader variation in responses to statements that were against environmental protection, which were reverse scored when calculating mean pro-environmental opinion scores.
As mentioned previously, these items had properties that allowed it to be treated as a scale Fig 5c. The WTP level among different demographic variables was summarized in Table 4 and statistically tested. Respondents who owned more than three vehicles in their household showed a significantly higher WTP 4. Other demographic factors such as gender, age, education level, income, and parenthood did not have a significant effect on the level of WTP.
We also found no significant relationship between WTP and awareness level, nor between WTP and the perception of air quality. This is somewhat surprising because unhealthy air appears to be globally pervasive [ 46 ], and in Malaysia, there is particularly strong evidence of harmful levels of pollution in KV e.
$ynesthetic @wareness: Perceiving Air Quality Through Visual and Audio Inputs – Alt Tab
As such, many Malaysian citizens may not be perceiving a real threat to their health from air pollution. As outlined by Bickerstaff [ 49 ], risk perception is influenced by complex social, political and cultural processes, and so further work to understand associated impacts on behaviours related to air pollution would be valuable. Of the minority of respondents who did perceive a harm from air pollution, those in KV had a higher tendency to report the air as severely polluted, perhaps reflecting the reality of higher pollution levels in the more populous KV.
Similarly, Awang et al. We also attempted to determine public perceptions of the factors contributing to the air pollution in KV and IM. This perception is consistent with Makmom Abdullah et al. Bazrbachi et al. These new findings highlight the potential of improved public transport options in combating urban air pollution in Malaysia. We found perceptions of air pollution to be influenced by aspects of vulnerability to its health impacts. For example, respondents with children were more likely to perceive air as severely polluted. This may relate to the intuitive parental reaction that recognises the long-term effects of local air pollution, which is more pertinent to children [ 50 ] and thus increase perceptions of a health-related problem [ 7 ].
In addition, respondents whose family members were suffering from respiratory disease were more likely to perceive conditions as harmful and more likely to believe incorrectly that respiratory disease is the leading cause of death among Malaysians. Together, these findings suggest direct experience among Malaysians of health problems perceived to be caused by air pollution is an important determinant of perceptions of air pollution.
They are consistent with work e. We found that while male respondents in this study showed a statistically significant higher awareness of air pollution compared to female respondents, the magnitude of the difference was extremely small. The literature in this area is contradictory, with some findings that men are likely to be more scientifically literate and knowledgeable than women [ 51 , 52 ] and other studies reporting that females tend to have higher awareness towards environmental issues [ 53 , 54 ].
We found some effect of age on awareness level, but no effect from levels of education and income. Studies such as Qian et al. This lack of clarity in the relationship between awareness level and gender, education, age and income could be due to the different control of demographic background of research subjects and a lack of a uniform assessment criteria for awareness level among different studies.
We found that respondents with experience of respiratory illness in their family were more willing to pay to protect the atmosphere compared with those without. This result corroborates previous studies, which found that respondents with pollution-related health problems were more eager to improve air quality [ 31 , 58 ]. In relation to this, our results suggest that a relation between awareness of environmental issues which could be gained through education and opinions in favour of environmental protection does exist, but is rather weak.
This is consistent with previous studies that, applying the theory of planned behaviour [ 28 ] to environmental problems, found gaps both in the relation between awareness and attitude [ 38 , 59 ] and between attitude and behaviour [ 60 , 61 , 62 ], suggesting the investigation of additional variables that could fill the gaps. This shows that the public has a tendency to feel that their actions have little or no impact as far as reducing air pollution is concerned and this perceived low level of control over environmental problems may discourage affected populations from becoming part of the solution.
The role of perceived behavioural control on behavioural intentions and on actual behaviour is well established in the literature [ 63 , 64 ], and, more specifically, the association of air pollution with perceived ability to deal with the problem has also been demonstrated in several studies e. We also asked questions on the relationship between economic growth and environmental protection.
Further studies will be necessary to assess the importance of changing economic conditions for such attitudes, and also to assess how Malaysian respondents compare with those from other countries e. These findings are very encouraging for the future success of implementing various environmental policies.
Research and Applications
However, willingness-to-pay was substantially reduced in the form of tax payment, indicating selective preferences in the nature of payment mechanisms [ 69 , 70 ]. The tax implemented by the Malaysian government in was unpopular and one of the driving forces behind the victory of the opposition Pakatan Harapan coalition, which has now scrapped the tax, in the Malaysian General Election.
Political events of recent years in Malaysia, such as the 1MDB scandal, may have reduced public faith in government [ 73 ], which is reflected in the lower willingness-to-pay towards environmental protection through government taxation. However, if public perception towards the government changes with regards to the newly elected administration, it may be possible that WTP in this context will increase to match WTP in the other contexts. Despite rigorous design, this survey still has several limitations. For instance, the categorization of survey sample requires further refinement.
For example, the reason why respondents are not willing to pay more taxes for cleaner air may relate to multiple reasons, such as political views, health conditions, social psychological pressure, and other factors. These need to be addressed more comprehensively in future studies. In the present study, attitudes towards environmental protection have been analysed mainly descriptively because of the lack of internal consistency of the clustered attitude items, which therefore could not form a reliable scale.
Further studies should consider the use of new items, specifically developed for and tested in the Malaysian context, in order to develop a Malaysian scale for support of environmental protection. The authors gratefully acknowledge the voluntary participation of all respondents. We thank Stephen Acreman for his helpful comments on the manuscript. Browse Subject Areas? Click through the PLOS taxonomy to find articles in your field. Abstract As in many nations, air pollution linked to rapid industrialization is a public health and environmental concern in Malaysia, especially in cities.
Funding: The authors received no specific funding for this work. Introduction Over the last half-century, many countries have transformed from an agrarian-based rural economy towards an industrial-based urban economy [ 1 ]. Materials and methods Participants Malaysians from the Klang Valley and Iskandar Malaysia conurbations were targeted as survey subjects because, as residents of among the largest urban and industrial areas in Malaysia, they are likely to be most affected by air pollution from vehicular and industrial emissions.
Instrumentation The framework of the survey instrument was adapted from our recent study [ 38 ] that was carried out in Malaysia with similar objectives. Data collection The survey was performed for a total of 80 days between November and January Data treatment and analysis Data was first managed by grouping and cross-checking the recorded responses in Qualtrics.
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