We disapprove it, yet we burn waste

Opinion poll on residential waste burning

According to a national representative opinion poll − carried out by Kantar Hoffmann market research company for Clean Air Action Group and the Hungarian Anti-Poverty Network − one-third of the Hungarian population burns waste on a regular basis. Most people burn garden waste (22% of all respondents), household waste (13%), treated wood (6%), rags, clothes and footwear (6%). 3% burns plastics (in addition to household waste), and 1% burns tyres. Many of them burn in open space: household waste (10%), treated wood (4%), clothes and footwear (3%), plastic and tyre (2-2%).

Figure 1 What have you burned in your household over the last few years?


One-third of the respondents has experienced waste burning by others in their surrounding neighbourhood over the past year.

54% of the respondents consider the lack of knowledge, irresponsibility and poverty together as the main causes of illegal residential waste burning. 30% mostly blame the lack of knowledge and irresponsibility, while 15% trace back waste burning to poverty as the main cause.


Figure 2 In your opinion, what is the main cause of illegal residential incineration?


Very few people report to authorities when they experience illegal burning, only 7% of the respondents have ever reported. However, there were three times more people who informed the waste burners themselves of committing an illegal act. Those who notified the authorities also reported that in the vast majority of cases some kind of action was taken by the authorities, yet the burning did not cease.

Figure 3 Have you ever reported when you experienced illegal waste incineration?


Nearly 70% of the respondents agree that authorities should take severe actions against those who heat or burn in a health-damaging way. Even more people state that legislation on burning must be fully respected by everyone. In both cases, only 2% of the respondents said that they completely disagree with these statements.

Our Environmental Advisory Office had received many complaints, which formed an image that was confirmed by the national survey: illegal residential waste burning is a major problem across the country and the government must take immediate actions to reduce it for the sake of our health. The survey also shows that most Hungarians would support these measures” – said Péter Lenkei, head of the Environmental Advisory Office of Clean Air Action Group.

The results of the survey suggest that it is primarily necessary to inform the public and to introduce stricter authority measures, which can be managed with a relatively small amount of money. At the same time, we cannot leave anyone in a situation where they have to decide: whether they buy food or heat their homes. For that reason, it is essential that the government provide heating subsidy for those in need” – stated Krisztina Jász, member of the Hungarian Anti-Poverty Network’s board of trustees.”

The two NGOs sent the results of the public opinion poll to the government and reiterate their proposal, which could lead to the eradication of illegal residential burning.

Translated by Noémi Koncz