Human Rights and the Right to Clean Air

Mahmoud Abbasi, Abdolmajid Soudmandi, Abdolmajid Soudmandi



Air pollution that began with the discovery of fire and increased by the spread of human communities then gradually emerged as a problem of the communities since the Industrial Revolution, continues to be a major harmful factor to human health and life and the environment. This is despite that the fight against air pollution began, in some cases, hundreds years ago, and in domestic legislation of some countries from nineteenth century and in most countries from the middle of twentieth century.

In the second half of the twentieth century after the publication of results of researches on the effects of air pollution on human health and the environment, countries came to the conclusion that the fight against this problem will be possible only through international cooperation. The result of this consensus was several international conferences and treaties to protect the environment in general or specifically to fight against air pollution.

The next important step in this regard was emergence of the concept of "the right to the environment" as a human right which began with the 1972 Stockholm Declaration. After the adoption of the Declaration, not only some human rights instruments set "the right to the environment" among other human rights and some environmental law instruments expressed the relationship between the environment and human rights, but also judicial and regulatory human rights bodies by giving environmental interpretation to the human rights, recognized "the right to the environment" as a derivative human right. In addition, some judicial and regulatory bodies outside the human rights systems have acknowledged the relationship between environmental protection and human rights. So, now there is not any doubt about "the right to clean air" as a component of "the right to the environment" as an autonomous human right or at least as a derivative human right.

Please cite this article as: Abbasi M, Soudmandi A. Human Rights and the Right to Clean Air. Bioeth J Q 2016; 6(21): 111-134.


The Right to the Environment; the Right to Clean Air; Human Rights

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