Water quality: assessment of the current situation in Asia.

The uncontrolled release of sewage, industrial wastes, and agricultural run-off continue to affect Asia. Although many Asian countries are getting closer to meeting the improved sanitation targets, much of the waste remains untreated. Comprehensive databases are rarely available and national data indicate that the water quality situation is serious. However, there are many signs of hope. Water quality monitoring efforts are improving and several countries now have systems in place that could guide other nations in the region. The efforts of basin agencies, such as the Mekong River Commission, could lead the way to transboundary or even regional assessments. Many regulatory and economic options are being tested for pollution control, but institutional and social challenges remain, in particular those related to population growth and the various ways in which it is affecting water quality across the region.