The environmental problem in the country is "very serious" or "relatively serious", according to more than three-fourths of the 10,000 people surveyed in 31 provinces and municipalities.
Results of the study, conducted by the China Environment Culture Promotion Association (CECPA), were announced on Friday. The survey, carried out every year since 2005, focuses on public awareness vis--vis the environment.
About 76 percent of the respondents said the environmental problem was "very serious" or "relatively serious" last year, and listed pollution as the most serious problem after rising prices and food security.
On a scale of 100 - with 1 being the lowest - respondents gave 52 points to environmental protection last year against 58 in 2007 and 68 in 2006.
Zhang Shaomin, CECPA secretary, said: "The falling points show that environmental protection efforts have not been able to keep pace with the fast economic growth and improved living standards."
About 32 percent of the respondents felt "very unsatisfied" with air quality and 28 percent "very worried" about water quality, making them the top environmental worries for the public in 2008.
The survey, however, showed that though people complained about environmental pollution, many of them did not try to improve it. About a third of those surveyed confessed they still bought plastic bags in supermarkets frequently.