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How do people in China perceive water? From health threat perception to environmental policy change


The vast majority of environmental studies examine the real impacts of human activities on the quality of ecosystems and measure the extent of pollution of natural resources using natural science methods. However, research on risk has shown that there is a gap between the real risks as described by technical experts and the public perception of risk. Research on risk perception studies is important to determine how people understand and evaluate risks, enabling policy makers to better communicate risks and develop environmental measures and policies. This paper presents a systematic review of studies that address public perceptions of water-related environmental problems in China. The systematic review provides a knowledge base for further research on water perception and develops the field of environmental psychology. Only through a synthesis of how people perceive water, and how they understand the problems and risks associated with water, we can better understand the underlying assumptions of their thinking and environmental attitudes. Environmental problems are also social and political problems because only through changing human behaviour we can arrive at solutions.

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The present research has been financially supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic within the project IGA_FF_2022_039 “Challenges of economics and management in the twenty-first century” of the Palacký University Olomouc.

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Correspondence to Veronika Vaseková.

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Vaseková, V. How do people in China perceive water? From health threat perception to environmental policy change. J Environ Stud Sci 12, 627–645 (2022).

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  • China
  • Risk perception
  • Water perception
  • Water pollution
  • Environmental politics
  • Health risk