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How do we ensure clean air or Air Security as a human right?

You have roughly one in two chances of inhaling air that exceeds World Health Organization standards for air pollution if you are reading this from a city in a high-income nation. However, if you reside in a city in a low or middle-income country, your chances of breathing clean air are much slimmer,  because 97% of these places do not meet the air quality standards.
Most of the world’s population is unintentionally exposed to hazardous materials and wastes that raise their risk of contracting diseases and impairments during their lives. Occasionally, it may pose a risk of being a human rights violation.
However, things could be worse. For instance, those who recycle items outside the official waste management system are known as informal recyclers. One of the most neglected groups, they frequently face risks like unpredictable income and social marginalisation while working in unsanitary and hazardous settings with inadequate equipment. As a result, they are among those who are most vulnerable to the harmful impacts of pollution.
According to the World Health Organization, environmental hazards are responsible for 23% of all fatalities globally, or 12.6 million individuals in 2012. Pollution-related illnesses disproportionately affect children, women, and the most vulnerable people in low and middle-income countries. Approximately seven million people die each year from air pollution alone.
As a result, the United Nations Human Rights Council created a mission on human rights and the environment in March 2012 to research the obligations linked to satisfying a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment under the law.

One of the facets of the right to a healthy environment is the right to breathe clean air. Unfortunately, numerous human rights, particularly the rights to life and health, are adversely affected by air pollution, particularly for vulnerable people. We ought to use our rights and ensure they are upheld. How can we make this happen?

According to the UN Environment Programme, or “UNEP” the responsible management of chemicals and pollutants must come first. It would be unimaginable to achieve equality, justice, and human dignity for all without efficient control of chemicals and pollutants worldwide. Chemicals support our daily development, but if they are not handled properly, they can become hazardous sources of contamination for our society and the environment.
The engagement of vulnerable individuals would also need to improve, as well as information and knowledge sharing on these subjects. The best way to handle environmental challenges is to involve all relevant parties. Therefore, it is crucial to adequately inform and empower people most impacted by chemicals and pollutants.
The rights of workers must also be ensured. Employees need and have a right to know information regarding the chemicals used at work. UNEP promotes the need to guarantee that all employees who assist in supplying the world with essential chemical products and waste management services be regarded with gratitude and respect, not simply informal recyclers. These workers' health problems and the environmental destruction of their homes should not be seen as an indirect penalty for their labour on the part of their families, especially their children.
Knowledge of the environment must be available to everyone. According to the UNEP’s Bali Guidelines on Access to Information, Public Participation, and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, “States should ensure that any natural or legal person who considers that his or her request for environmental information has been unreasonably refused … or in any other way not handled in accordance with applicable law, has access to a review procedure before a court of law … to challenge such a decision, act or omission by the public authority in question.” The Aarhus Convention and the Escaz Agreement, two enforceable regional agreements, have similar clauses.
Other tried and tested options include:
  • Passing clean air legislation.
  • Switching from coal-fired electricity to renewable energy.
  • Incorporating the latest development in electronics to improve air quality and air security.
In addition, promoting cycling and walking in urban areas, electrifying public transportation, eliminating fossil fuel subsidies (except as noted above), enhancing waste management, and assisting farmers in adopting more environmentally friendly methods. As a result, the global climate emergency could be addressed, air quality would improve, and there would be significant health, environmental, social, and economic advantages if these policies were implemented well.
There is no more time for discussion or tolerance for ambiguity. Clean air is a necessary policy goal and is a fundamental human right.

All must breathe clean air. There is a crisis in global health, the environment, and human rights because billions of people today breathe dangerously polluted air. Implementing the known solutions is all that is required. Using the correct air purifier products is an essential step toward safeguarding the health of the individual and the planet. We not only have a unique chance to save tens of millions of lives in the following decades by lowering air pollution, but we also have a moral and legal duty to do it. It is time for us to be responsible and make efforts to create a safe and healthy tomorrow.

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