Inside Story

Should governments make breathing clean air a human right?

From New Delhi to Mexico City, there are few places on Earth where air pollution is not a problem.

It affects the quality of life for billions of people.

This week, smoke from unprecedented wildfires in Canada is engulfing the skies of cities in the United States – making the air too toxic to breathe.

Climate scientists say such blazes are increasing in frequency around the planet because of global warming.

And it’s often the poorest people – and nations – who are the most vulnerable.

The UN has declared clean air and a healthy environment a human right.

So will that be taken up by governments – and what can they be expected to do to mitigate our changing climate?

Presenter: Imran Khan


Maria Neira – Director of public health, environment and social determinants of health at the World Health Organisation

Emma Bud – Clean air lawyer at Client Earth, an environmental law charity

Abhiir Bhalla – Youth environmentalist and adviser to the board of the Commonwealth Human Ecology Council