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Stuart Bell, Donald McGillivray, Ole W. Pedersen, Emma Lees, and Elen Stokes

This chapter is concerned with the quality of the water environment. Considering that there are well-developed bodies of law at national, European, and international levels, all covering different ground, this is a major topic. The focus here, however, is on the control of pollution of inland and coastal waters; wider issues about water resource management, such as land drainage or flood defence, are not covered in any detail. The various forms of water pollutants are discussed here, as are as their sources and effects. The abstraction of water from the natural environment is only discussed in so far as this has an impact on water quality.


This chapter provides an overview of the purpose of this book. It starts by saying what the book does not expect to do. The text does not intend to answer the question whether the law we have now serves the needs of environmental justice or fairness among nations, generations, or peoples. It does, however, attempt to show, inter alia, how international law has developed a framework for cooperation on environmental matters between developed and developing states; for the adoption of measures aimed at control of pollution and conservation and sustainable use of natural resources; for the resolution of international environmental disputes; for the promotion of greater transparency and public participation in environmental decision-making; and for the adoption and harmonization of national environmental law.