Too Dirty: Water and Pollution

  • Avi Brisman
  • Bill McClanahan
  • Nigel South
  • Reece Walters
Part of the Critical Criminological Perspectives book series (CCRP)


Most countries will impose restrictions on the discharge of pollutants into water and, in particular, will set standards for the quality of drinking water. Of course, whether these restrictions are applied with any rigour and whether these standards are met raise the kind of questions with which this book is concerned. We start here with the issue of pollution of water because it tends to be the most common water concern, crime or harm of which people are aware: often, although not always (as we will discuss below in the context of Flint, Michigan), polluted water looks, tastes or smells foul. Of course, for many people across the world, the greater issue is access to water in the face of drought—thirst and related starvation—and in such circumstances, polluted water is consumed on the basis that dirty water is better than no water at all. In other instances, water pollution leads to issues of water scarcity: a region may rely on a specific water body and when it becomes polluted, access to clean freshwater becomes frustrated (see generally Smith 2015).Our point is that while water pollution and access to clean water are often conceptualized as separate problems with different socioeconomics and geopolitics, this is not always necessarily the case (McClanahan et al. 2015).We shall discuss these circumstances and the issues related to health and inequalities in a later chapter. For now, back to pollution—and to the different ways in which it occurs—not always so easily detectable as might be assumed—as well as the different ways in which it is responded to, for purposes of prevention and prosecution of polluters.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Avi Brisman
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Bill McClanahan
    • 1
  • Nigel South
    • 4
    • 2
  • Reece Walters
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Justice Studies College of Justice and SafetyEastern Kentucky UniversityRichmondUSA
  2. 2.School of Justice Faculty of LawQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.Newcastle Law School Faculty of Business and LawUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia
  4. 4.Department of SociologyUniversity of EssexColchester, EssexUK

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