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‘600-800 die per year’ in Cyprus due to poor air quality

Air Quality Jpeg
File photo

There are between 600 and 800 deaths in Cyprus per year due to poor air quality, Green MP Charalambos Theopemptou said on Monday.

He was citing European Environment Agency figures at a House human rights committee meeting, in which the committee accepted the United Nations General Assembly’s resolution regarding the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

A proposal for Cyprus’ parliament to formally adopt the resolution had been submitted by Volt MP Alexandra Attalides and links the quality of one’s environment to other human rights already enshrined in existing international law.

The resolution’s text adds that “the promotion of the human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment requires the full implementation of multilateral environmental agreements” which concern the environment.

Speaking after the committee meeting, committee chairwoman and Akel MP Irene Charalambidou said she believes it will be adopted by a vote at a plenary session in the House, given its passage through the committee stage.

Amendments were also added to the resolution, including a provision regarding Cyprus’ Natura 2000 areas.

It demanded that “the Republic of Cyprus must immediately proceed with the preparation of all management plans for Natura 2000 areas, the establishment of the necessary conservation measures, and the immediate adoption of the most active measures to undo all previous violations.”

After the session, Attalides said the right to a healthy environment is “a fundamental human right which has not yet been enshrined in international conventions or in the Republic of Cyprus’ constitution.”

She also moved to point out a recent European Court of Human Rights ruling, which found against Switzerland in a case filed by four elderly women and a non-governmental organisation “for the failure to deal with climate change and to recognise the impacts of this failure on human rights.”

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