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A clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a ‘universal right’: UNHRC

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  • Published
    19th Oct, 2021


The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has recognized access to a clean and healthy environment as a ‘fundamental right’ in Geneva, Switzerland.


What is ‘right to clean environment’?

  • The right to a clean environment was centered on the Stockholm Declaration of 1972.
    • The Declaration emphasizes the "right to life, liberty and security of person, and the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms".
  • Fifty years later, the declaration has been legally recognized.

The World Health Organization estimates that 13.7 million deaths a year, or about 24.3% of the global total are due to natural disasters such as air pollution and chemical exposure.

Environmental Management in India

  • Article 21 of the Constitution of India states: 'No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
  • The Indian Parliament has enacted a number of laws to protect and improve the environment.
    • Wildlife (protection) Act, 1972
    • Water (prevention and control of pollution) Act, 1974
    • The forest (conservation) Act, 1989
    • The air (prevention and control of pollution) Act,1981
    • The Environment (protection) Act, 1986
  • In addition the Constitution (forty-two amendments) of the Act, 1976 included two important provisions namely.
    • Article 48-A
    • Article 51A (g)

Thus, making the Constitution of India the first in the world to provide a constitutional framework for environmental protection.

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