China and International Environmental Liability
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China and International Environmental Liability

Legal Remedies for Transboundary Pollution

Edited by Michael Faure and Song Ying

This book considers the ways in which transboundary environmental pollution can be remedied through a variety of legal instruments. Particular attention is paid to the pollution of the Songhua river in China, but legal remedies to transboundary pollution are also discussed in a broader context.
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Chapter 7: The Joint Governance of Transboundary River Basins: Some Observations on the Role of Law

Marjan Peeters


Marjan Peeters1 1 INTRODUCTION This chapter focuses on the transnational management of transboundary rivers. One of the classic examples of a transboundary environmental problem is that the upstream use of a river might harm the downstream water quality in another state. The Netherlands, being the delta for four main rivers, will naturally suffer from this type of event.2 The Sandoz affair of 1986, where a fire at a chemical plant in Switzerland and the subsequent leakage of the polluted firewater into the river caused a ‘dead’ ecology of the River Rhine, is an important example.3 Being a victim-state, the Netherlands traditionally has a particular interest in developing an international approach with respect to the management of transboundary river systems. The Dutch government therefore engaged in discussions and political negotiations with upstream polluting states. As a result of international political meetings, several transboundary river commissions have been established. Those commissions, containing representative delegations from the river basin states, overarch the national regional and local governments of the concerned states. The commissions have originally been established on a voluntary base, and are subsequently formalized by means of a treaty. The development of the river 1 The author would like to thank Mr Mario Cerutti (Secretary of the International Meuse Commission), Mr Ben van de Wetering (Secretary of the International Rhine Commission) and Dr Anne Schulte-Wülwer-Leidig (Substitute Secretary of the International Rhine Commission) for their expert advice. Also thanks go to Mrs Anne Jenniskens LL.M, for her assistance to the...

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