Severe water pollution is among the top policy priorities in both China and India. This paper undertakes a comparative case analysis to examine efforts in combating river pollution in two major rivers – the Yangtze in China and the Ganga in India. Our analysis suggests that efforts in combating river pollution in the two Asian giants have encountered substantial challenges, such as the lack of comprehensive legal mechanisms to control pollution at the basin level, the lack of coordination among multiple government agencies, and significant gaps in policy implementation. Our analysis also points out considerable differences between China and India in institutional structure, regulatory approaches and policy instruments in dealing with river pollution.

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