1 February 2022
This paper looks at three contaminated communities in southern Europe facing pollution from industrial and mining activity and analyses forms of avoidance behaviour, using both economic and sociological approaches. Based on a quantitative household survey, we show that avoidance behaviour is mainly explained by residential location and socio-economic characteristics. Pollution perception is not statistically correlated to most avoidance behaviour. From in-depth qualitative interviews, we learn more about people’s risk perception and whether and why people adopt avoidance behaviour, including discovering some inventive solutions. To conclude, our results cast doubt on the efficacy of current public advisory communications.