It is widely acknowledged that top-down support is essential for bottom-up participatory projects to be effectively implemented at scale. However, which level of government, national or sub-national, should be given the responsibility to implement such projects is an open question, with wide variations in practice.

In many developing countries, environmental quality remains low and policies to improve it have been inconsistently effective. This paper conducts a case study of environmental policy, focusing on an unprecedented ruling by the Supreme Court of India, which targeted industrial pollution in the Ganga River.