Australia State of the Environment Report 2001 (Theme Report)
Lead Author: Dr Peter Manins, Environmental Consulting and Research Unit, CSIRO Atmospheric Research, Authors
Published by CSIRO on behalf of the Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2001
ISBN 0 643 06746 9
Stratospheric Ozone (continued)
Public behaviour and UV radiation [A Indicator 2.7]
The Australian climate, with high levels of UV radiation, is conducive to elevated incidences of sunburn and other UV-related medical problems, such as melanoma. Human behaviour, much more than ozone depletion, determines the overall effect of UV on people in Australia.
Survey data are available on how Australians have changed their behaviour and attitudes towards UV radiation exposure (Figure 81). The percentage of respondents in Victoria who indicated taking positive actions to avoid UV exposure increased from 15% in 1988 to over 30% in 1995. The limited Queensland data suggest a similar trend. The belief that a tan is healthy has declined from 45% of respondents in 1988 to less than 30% in 1995. Presumably the changes in behaviour and attitude measured in Victoria and Queensland are indicative of Australia-wide changes.
Figure 81: Changes in behaviour and attitude towards UV exposure over time.
(a) The behavioural indicators were avoiding the direct sun, wearing a broad-brimmed hat and the use of sunscreens. (b) The attitude indicators studied were whether a sun tan looks, feels or is thought to be healthy. The symbols and shaded areas are the means and ranges of the responses to the behaviour and attitudes indicators.
Source: Baade et al. (1996); Hill et al. (1993, 1996)
The contribution of the ozone depletion issue to behavioural and attitudinal changes has not been assessed.
Australian attitudes and behaviour with respect to exposure to UV radiation are changing, favouring less exposure. Follow-up studies are required to assess whether these trends have continued to the end of the 1990s and beyond.