Regulatory quality of water pollution control: a comparative case study of India and China

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Basu Roy, Sharanya
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University College Cork
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Ecosystems constitute resource stocks that are regenerative but exhaustible when they are overused. To prevent ecosystems from collapsing, government intervention takes place through pollution control policies namely: regulation, effluent charges and subsidies, contract and redefinition of property rights and organisation. Of these four policy approaches, this study will concentrate on regulation. The management of water pollution has been challenging on multiple levels, particularly in developing countries like India and China, which risks undermining not only the economic growth of these countries but also the health and quality of life of billions of people. Therefore, an econometric analysis has been conducted in this study in order to examine the effect of strategic regulatory measures in both these countries. In addition, a comparative analysis of the regulatory measures of India and China has been done which would assist in identifying and quantifying the impact and shortcomings of pollution control policies in these two countries. The rest of the thesis is structured as follows: Chapter 1 is the introductory chapter which presents the motivation for this research and the rationale behind the development of this thesis. Chapter 2 outlines the analytical and theoretical methodology used in this thesis. Chapter 3 examines the effectiveness of regulatory measures for river pollution at the micro-level in India under the Ganga Action Plan (GAP). The GAP is India’s first river action plan (launched in three phases) which focuses on the country’s national river, the Ganges. The results indicate that the GAP has a weak legal basis. In addition, the institutions established under the GAP are also suffering from institutional failure. However, India’s civil society organizations appear to contribute towards Ganges river pollution abatement. Chapter 4 conducts a country level analysis for understanding river pollution regulatory measures in India. The results demonstrate that, at the macro-level, India’s regulatory measures are only slightly effective. Although India’s water law suffers from many legislative gaps, the low effectiveness of the regulatory measures could be due to the country’s judiciary which acts as an educator for polluting industries and encourages legal activism. A free media has contributed towards a rise in legal activism, as well. Institutions suffer from implementation failure at the macro level in India. Moreover, the civil society organisations fail to contribute towards river pollution abatement at the national level. Chapter 5 studies the effectiveness of river pollution regulatory measures in China. The results show that environmental regulation suffers from many legislative gaps. Furthermore, the country also suffers from a weak institutional structure for river pollution abatement. The effectiveness of regulatory measures are further weakened by corruption and restrictive media. Chapter 6 conducts a comparative analysis of India and China. The analysis demonstrates that China has a comparatively better legislative framework for river pollution abatement as compared to India, at least in terms of establishing river basin commissions (RBCs). Nonetheless, the former still fails to improve river water quality because of substantive legislative gaps. On the other hand, India, despite having poorer water legislation specifically aimed at river pollution, has still managed to reduce pollution levels, largely due to a better judiciary. The country’s judiciary has often stepped in to make-up for the Executive’s inefficiencies in the context of water pollution management. Both countries suffer from institutional failure of the Executive in terms of implementing river pollution abatement measures. Chapter 7 is the concluding chapter which summarises the key findings of this study. It also suggests a few policy recommendations.
Economic analysis of law , Water law and economics , Interdisciplinary , Regulatory quality , Econometrics , Public policy
Basu Roy, S. 2019. Regulatory quality of water pollution control: a comparative case study of India and China. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.