Environmental Timeline

  • The Panama Canal

    The Panama Canal
    • More than 25,000 workers died during the canal’s construction.
    • The United States transferred control of the canal to Panama in 1999.
  • The Three Gorges Dam

    The Three Gorges Dam
    • world's largest hydropower project at present
    • The early disputes stressed on the economic and technical factors. It was generally accepted that these two factors could not support the construction of the project and the problem of migration was hard to be settled
  • Libby, Montana Asbestos Contamination

    Libby, Montana Asbestos Contamination
    • Had been mined for more than 40 years in an area about seven miles outside of Libby. Before Grace took over ownership of the mine, a number of employees developed lung problems and several fatalities were reported
    • They knew the vermiculite was contaminated with asbestos and that it caused health complications. But they didn't warn anyone, so mining continued. As a result, hundreds of Libby residents have died and almost two thousand more are currently suffering illnesses
  • The Great Smog of 52

    The Great Smog of 52
    • The smog occurred after a period of cold snowy weather. It resulted in people burning low-quality sulphurous coal to stay warm
    • Particles and gasses from power stations, vehicle exhausts and industrial pollution blown over from Europe were also trapped.
  • Castle Bravo

    Castle Bravo
    • Bravo ws the first test that you could make balls with equal radiation and damage as Hiroshima in smaller packages that could drop from airplanes
    • Instead of 6 megatons of yield, it produced 15 megatons of yield, an error of 250%
  • Minamata Disease

    Minamata Disease
    • Minamata disease is a form of methyl mercury poisoning caused by eating large quantities of fish and shellfish polluted by methyl mercury in factory wastewater
    • Over 17,000 people from Kumamoto and Kagoshima prefectures have applied for certification as Minamata disease victims
  • The Shrinking of the Aral Sea

    The Shrinking of the Aral Sea
    • when the Aral Sea was the world's fourth largest lake, the Aral Sea has lost 75% of its water volume.
    • This loss is due to the agricultural diversion of the Syr Darya and Amu Darya rivers
  • SIlent Spring

    SIlent Spring
    -described how DDT entered the food chain and accumulated in the fatty tissues of animals inclusing animals
    -A single application on a crop, she wrote, killed insects for weeks and months, and not only the targeted insects but countless more, and remained toxic in the environment even after it was diluted by rainwater.
  • Tragedy of the Commons

     Tragedy of the Commons
    • "Held in common" means the resource is owned by no one, or owned by a group, all of whom have access to the resource
    • Note that the tragedy does not need to follow from greed. In the example below, we all breath the air. This degrades the common resource: air. But we breath not because we are greedy, but because we want to live. Any sustained increase of population in a finite biosystem ends in tragedy.
  • The Palomares Incident

    The Palomares Incident
    • Three of the four bombs crashed among the fields and houses of the village. One of these broke open, and a high-explosive detonation scattered plutonium from another.
    • Major General Delmar Wilson, was responsible for coordinating the Palomares recovery efforts. He was later quoted as saying that the air force was at the time unprepared to provide adequate detection and monitoring, especially in a remote area of a foreign country.
  • 1st Earth Day

    1st Earth Day
    • On Earth Day 2009, Disney released a documentary film called Earth that followed the migration paths of four animal families.
    • On the very first Earth Day, 20 million people gathered in the streets of America to protest the industrial revolution. An environmental movement was born as a result.
  • Ecocide in Vietnam

  • Environmental Protection Agency

    Environmental Protection Agency
    • Particles that are less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter are known as "fine" particles; those larger than 2.5 micrometers, but less than 10 micrometers, are known as "coarse" particles.
    • Fine particles are easily inhaled deep into the lungs where they may accumulate, react, be cleared or absorbed
  • Door to Hell

    Door to Hell
    • In fact it is a 50 – 100 meter crater who burn continues for 35 years without any pause
    • To avoid poisonous gases coming out of the hole, it was decide to fire up and let the gas burn
  • The Seveso Disaster

    The Seveso Disaster
    • The most evident adverse health effect ascertained was chloracne. Other reversible early effects noted were peripheral neuropathy and liver enzyme induction.
    • An excess of diabetes cases was also found
  • Amoco Cadiz

    Amoco Cadiz
    • 1.6 million barrels of oil
    • 85 million dollars is what it was worth
  • The Love Canal

    The Love Canal
    • In the 1940s and 50s the empty canal was used by a chemical and plastics company to dump nearly 20,000 tons of toxic waste
    • The canal was then filled in and the land given to the expanding city of Niagara Falls by the chemical company
  • The Three Mile Island Nuclear Explosion

    The Three Mile Island Nuclear Explosion
    • By early morning, the core had heated to over 4,000 degrees, just 1,000 degrees short of meltdown
    • As the plant operators struggled to understand what had happened, the contaminated water was releasing radioactive gases throughout the plant.
  • The Bhopal Disaster

    The Bhopal Disaster
    • killed nearly 25,000 people
    • Even after three decades of this disaster, the survivors suffer from breathing trouble and other ailments.
  • The Chernobyl Nuclear Explosion

    The Chernobyl Nuclear Explosion
    • The accident happened because of a combination of basic engineering deficiencies in the reactor and faulty actions of the operators
    • This led to a cascade of events resulting in a series of explosions and consequent fires that severely damaged the reactor building
  • Pacific Gyre Garbage Patch

    Pacific Gyre Garbage Patch
    • It is twice the size of texas
    • More than 200 billion pounds of plastic are created every year and at least 10% of it ends up in the ocean
  • The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

    The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
    • The amount of oil spilled could fill 125 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
    • As many as 2,800 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 900 bald eagles and 250,000 seabirds died in the days following the disaster.
  • The Kuwait Oil Fires

    The Kuwait Oil Fires
    • Somewhere around 6 million oil barrels where lost.
    • The byproducts of the petroleum burn caused pollution to the soil and air, and the oil fires have been linked with what was later called Gulf War Syndrome
  • Baia Mare Cyanide Spill

    Baia Mare Cyanide Spill
    • 100,000 cubic meters of cyanide-contaminated water spilled over some farmland and then into the Someş River
    • The polluted waters eventually reached the Tisza and then the Danube, killing large quantities of fish in Hungary and Serbia
  • The Al-mishraq Fire

    The Al-mishraq Fire
    • most of the firefighters whom had prolonged exposure to sulfur dioxide during the Mishraq Sulfur Mine fire.
    • Both sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide are gases that can produce irritation and reddening of the nose and throat, eye irritation, and coughing.
  • Jilin Chemical Plant Explosions

    Jilin Chemical Plant Explosions
    • On the river, there was a polluted area which was in length of 80 kilometers, of which composed by benzene and nitro compound; excessive contact or inhalation would cause leukemia
    • The cut-off of tap water for 4 days caused citizens to scare buying the drinking water
  • Sidoarjo Mud Flow

    Sidoarjo Mud Flow
    • World's muddiest disaster
    • The humid climate provides an abundance of rain that washes sediments down the country’s numerous volcanic peaks
  • Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone

    Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone
    • The dead zone is the size of New Jersey
    • Midwest are flushing agricultural runoff—namely, nitrogen and phosphorus—into the Gulf and spurring giant algal blooms, which lead to dead zones, or areas devoid of oxygen that occur in the summer.
  • TVA Kingston Fossil Plant Coal Fly Ash Slurry Spill

    TVA Kingston Fossil Plant Coal Fly Ash Slurry Spill
    • Each year coal preparation creates waste containing an estimated 13 tons of mercury
    • Each year coal preparation creates waste containing an estimated 251 tons of cadmium
  • Deep water horizon BP oil spill

    Deep water horizon BP oil spill
    • In the BP Oil Spill, more than 200 million gallons of crude oil was pumped into the Gulf of Mexico for a total of 87 days, making it the biggest oil spill in U.S. history.
    • 16,000 total miles of coastline have been affected, including the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
  • Fukushima Daiichi

    Fukushima Daiichi
    • It is estimated that there are 1,331 used nuclear fuel rods that need to be removed from Fukushima
    • Officials in Japan admit that 300 tons of radioactive water from Fukushima is entering the Pacific Ocean every 24 hours.
  • E-waste in Guiyu, China

    E-waste in Guiyu, China
    • Guiyu, China, is one of the largest electronic waste sites on earth
    • Here old electronics from the developed world come to their final resting place – at high cost to the environment and the thousands of workers and their children.