The Right to a Healthy Environment and the Trap of Collective Rights

Since the inception of international environmental law in the 1970s, concern over environmental protection has been expressed in terms of rights. However, there is still no agreement as to who should be considered the holder of this right.
This paper analyzes the reasons for these disagreements. In Section II, I will argue that the difficulties in the recognition of the right to a healthy environment relate directly to the characteristics of the object of this right. In section III, I will defend the view that collective entitlement not only fails to address these difficulties, but also causes new problems of agency, representation and content of the right. In section IV, I analyze these problems and argue that we should avoid the trap of collective rights. I will conclude by pointing out why individual entitlement should be preferred.