Right to a clean, healthy and sustainable street, free from mechanical noise


The United Nations has enshrined the right to a clean, sustainable and healthy environment. This topic is included in Resolution No. 76, of July 2022. Also, the United Nations has sustainable development objectives for 2030, among which are: ensuring a healthy life and promoting the well-being of everyone (goal 3 ), industry, innovation and infrastructure (goal 9), sustainable cities and communities (goal 11), sustainable consumption and production (goal 12), decent work and economic growth. Based on this standard of international environmental law that guarantees the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment and the objectives of sustainable development, we can think about the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable street, free from noise and noise pollution. As a right of citizenship to sound environmental quality, free from mechanical noise.

Streets are environments polluted by noise from machines, equipment, services, infrastructure and vehicles. Mainly, traffic is one of the main sources of street noise pollution. Now, the street is a public asset for common use. It is a common infrastructure available to the public. Therefore, there is the right to clean, healthy and sustainable infrastructure. The acoustic space around the street is a common environmental asset. Therefore, it is the objective of legal protection. Any and all public assets that are part of public and environmental heritage must be protected from the risks of acoustic contamination. Any and all forms of environmental degradation must be addressed by the competent authorities. Citizens have the right to the environmental quality of streets, free from mechanical noise. The natural soundscape of the streets must be freed from mechanical noise. A healthy street is a street free from noise. A sustainable street is a street free from noise. Therefore, it is essential that urban, environmental and traffic policies adopt more rigorous measures to eliminate, reduce and isolate noise from machines, equipment, services and vehicles that cause environmental degradation on city streets. Here, the environmental principles of the polluter pays and the prohibition of environmental setbacks must be applied.

The local government must encourage the use of technological innovations for environmental monitoring of streets. Noise maps are essential for ensuring the environmental quality of streets, preventing environmental noise pollution. With this environmental monitoring it will be easier and faster to detect the polluter and thus impose the appropriate legal sanctions. Also, measures to restrict the circulation of acoustic polluters in the streets must be adopted by public authorities. Another aspect is the definition of areas of urban tranquility, free from noise, as well as areas where noise speeds are restricted.

To have clean, healthy and sustainable cities, we need clean, healthy and sustainable streets. Cities with environmental quality have anti-noise environmental inspection systems. A city that wants to have its ecological “branding” has to combat noise and noise pollution in the streets. After all, there is no environmental quality without sound environmental quality around the  streets.

Ericson M. Scorsim . Lawyer and Consultant in State Law. PhD in Law from USP. Founder of the Anti-Noise Environmental Monitor Association . Author of the Ebooks Anti-noise Movements for Smart, Healthy and Sustainable Cities and Smart, Healthy and Sustainable Condominiums, Amazon , 2023.

Ericson M. Scorsim

Lawyer and Consultant in Communication Law. PhD in Law from USP. Author of the Ebooks Collection on Communication Law with a focus on topics on technologies, internet, telecommunications and media.