China’s central and local governments have barely made a start in trying to clean up the country’s heavily polluted water, despite fast-approaching deadlines for improvements and the launch of a comprehensive “ten point plan” over a year ago.

Behind the apparent inertia is a lattice of overlapping responsibilities in government departments, contradictory statements from officials, incomplete and undisclosed data, and a lack of monitoring of just how big the problem of water pollution really is.

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