Pre-condition to enjoyment of human rights:-
The first right-based approach understands environmental protection or a quality environment as a pre-condition to the enjoyment of internationally guaranteed human rights, especially the rights to life and health.
The protection of environment is a vital instrument in the effort to secure the effective enjoyment of human rights. Those who destroy or pollute the natural environment are both committing an offence against nature and also violating human rights.
The link between human rights and enjoyment of human rights pre-suppose that a decent physical environment is a precondition for living a life of dignity and worth. More concretely, a decent physical environment has to do with protection against nuisance, pollution and dumping of toxic substances.
Human Rights-Elements to achieve Environmental Protection
The second approach views certain human rights as essential elements to achieving environmental protection, which has as a principal aim, the protection of human health. This also involves the procedural rights as earlier enunciated in this work.
This denotes that if the enjoyment of human rights depends on environmental protection, in turn, environmental protection depends on the exercise of certain human rights such as the right to information e.t.c. In the case of Zimbabwe S. (1) of their constitution provides that any person complaining of a violation of any of his rights can use the special enforcement procedure provided therein.
The procedure provides for quick redress. This approach is well-illustrated by the Rio declaration on environment and development, adopted at the conclusion of the 1992 conference of Rio de Janeiro on environment and development. This third approach views the link between environment and human rights enjoyment as indivisible and inseparable and posits the right to a safe and healthy environment.
At present, examples of this are found mainly in regional human rights system, environmental treatise and national law. Most formulations of the right to environment qualify it by such words as ‘healthy’, ‘safe’, ‘secure’ or ‘clean’ making clear the link between environmental protection and the aim of human health.
PROCEDURAL RIGHTS- (human rights)
The question whether human rights are the proper legal tools for dealing with the increasing degradation of the environment has now become more timely than ever. The procedural tool used to address this issue is centred on the fact that contemporary developments at the level of treaty law have tended to fashion the entitlements of individuals, communities and groups to take part in environmental decisions affecting their lives and to access justice with respect to adverse impacts caused to their environments in terms of human rights.
This phenomenon is called “Proceduralization of environmental rights” in the sense of an individual and social empowerment to participate in the deliberative process leading to environmental decisions and in the activation of remedies against environmental harm. At this procedural level the human rights jurisprudence, has read into the applicable human rights treatise a state obligation to guarantee information, meaningful participation, and access to justice to persons directly affected by an environmental impact.
This progress is, however, limited; not so much because it falls short of establishing an independent “right” to a clean environment which is neither necessary nor useful, given its indeterminacy, but rather because it is still hampered by the persistent and prevailing individualist perspective in which human rights are conceived and often implemented by international courts and supervisory bodies.