Developments in Water Pollution Law and Policy in China: Effective Enough to Cope with Water Pollution Conflict?

Qun Du


Water pollution is one of the most serious environmental issues facing China. In 2005, an exceptionally serious water pollution accident in the Songhua River — caused by an unintended and sudden chemicals explosion — heralded an official recognition of a water pollution crisis in China. Although there have been new initiatives in national law and policy concerning water pollution that attempt to respond to issues of: social conflict caused by water pollution; government accountability; liability of polluting entities; and citizens’ rights in cases of water pollution, the challenges for the rule of environmental law in effectively reducing water pollution accidents and resolving water pollution conflict still exist. There is an urgent need to strengthen compliance and enforcement. This paper discusses the issues of water pollution conflict and the possible resolutions offered through law and policy.

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