APES Events Topic Quiz

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1952 London Smog
- 'Great Smog of 52" or "Big Smoke"
- started due to cold weather mixed with windless conditions
- airborne pollutants were collected and combined from coal plants which created a huge layer of smog over London
- lasted for four days and left when the weather
- thousands of people reported respiratory issues and thousands of deaths
- lead to the Clean Air Act of 1956
- financial incentives offered to families who didn't use coal fires anymore
Aral Sea
- located between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, ongoing crisis
- Aral Sea was the world's fourth largest saline lake, getting water from the two rivers beside it (Amu Darya and Syr Darya)
- Soviet government decided to use the two rivers as irrigation water to the land around it, taking away two water sources for the sea
- the water level continues to decrease
- the evaporation rate is increasing making the water level go down even faster, 90% has dried up
Bangladesh Tube Wells
- one of the biggest outbreaks of poisoning this century
- foreign aid agencies are to blame
- claimed they were safe pipes, but caused Arsenic poisoning
- 30 million people risk developing fatal cancers
Bhopal, India: Union Carbide leak
- gas leak incident in India
- considered World's worst industrial disaster
- over 500,000 people were exposed to methyl isocyanate and other chemicals
- toxic substance made its way around towns near the plant
-The company involved in what became the worst industrial accident in history immediately tried to dissociate itself from legal responsibility.
-It paid $470 million in compensation.
Centralia Pennsylvania Coal Mine Fire
- coal mine fire that has been burning underground since 1962 or earlier
- entire town has become abandoned (10 people live there as of 2010)
- US revoked the zip code in 2002
- three proposals on stopping the fire
-releasing dangerous toxins into the air as well as polluting the groundwater
Chernobyl
- nuclear accident in 1986 at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine
- explosion and fire released large quantities of radioactive particles into the atmosphere, spreading over the USSR and Europe
- considered the worst nuclear power plant accident in history
- long term effects still being accounted for
-Major releases of radionuclides continued for ten days and contaminated more than 200 000 square kilometers of Europe.
Church Rock Uranium Spill 7/79
- occurred in New Mexico in 1979
- United Nuclear Corporation's Church Rock uranium mail tailings disposal bond breached its dam
- over 1,000 tons of radioactive mill waster and millions of gallons of mine effluent flowed into the Puerco River
- contaminants traveled 80 miles downstream to Navajo County, Arizona
- local residents used this water for irrigation and livestock, they were not aware of the contaminants
- in 2003, the Churchrock Chapter of the Navajo Nation began the Church Rock Uranium Monitoring Project to assess environmental impacts of abandoned uranium mines
- found significant radiation from both natural and mining sources in the area
Cuyahoga River Fire
- at the time, fire was one of the most polluted rivers in the country
- river was so polluted that it oozed rather than flowed
- oil dumping caused it to catch on fire many times over the years, the biggest one happening in 1952
- sparked wide-ranging reforms, including the passage of the Clean Water Act and the creation of federal and state environmental protection agencies.
Declaration of Lake Erie dead
- 1970
- algae multiplied over the lake, killing many of the animals and plants of that habitat
-Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement was signed by the United States and Canada in 1972. The Agreement emphasized the reduction of phosphorous entering lakes Erie and Ontario
Deepwater Horizon
- caused by a plan that failed due to the fact that there was not enough cement in the protection casing
- oil coated birds feathers, causing them to lose their buoyancy
- government funded the clean up by giving $69 million
- Aquatic Resources Act
Donora Smog of 1948
- Donora, Pennsylvania was very industrialized
- smog was caused by Zinc Smelting Paint, Steel mills with open furnaces, sulfuric acid plant with slag dumps, coal burning steam locomotives and river motor boats
- fog held he pollutants close to ground-level which lead to people breathing it in and having respiratory problems
- 19 people died (older people)
- state government in 1949 established a Division of Air Pollution to study the situation
- legislation passed the Clean Streams Act of 1965 which lead to the Environmental Bill or Rights in 1970
Dust Bowl
- in the 1930's parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas were hit by severe drought conditions and high winds that created blinding dust storms
- blew dust from Albany to New York
- dust was a mixture of particles and top-soil that took thousands of years to accumulate
- FDR established Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Soil Erosion Service shortly after the Dust Bowl
- soil in the Great Plains still hasn't fully recovered from this
Exxon Valdez
- March 23, 1989 a large oil spill occurred off the coast of Alaska when a giant tanker hit a reef in Prince William Sound
- more than 2,800 sea otters, 12 river otters, 300 harbor seals, 22 Orcas, countless fish and almost 250 bald eagles were instantly destroyed
- environmental status is still in remediation
- if there is another spill, the government will be much more organized and effective
Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant
- nuclear energy accident resulting from a tsunami in 2011
- caused equipment failures, resulting in a loss-of-coolant accident, followed by a nuclear meltdown and release of radioactive materials
- largest nuclear accident since Chernobyl
Great Pacific Garbage Patch
- in the Pacific Ocean a gyre (slowly moving spiral of currents) exists and inside it is the World's largest landfill
- lies between Hawaii and California
- filled with marine debris, mostly broken up plastic
- kills animals
Gulf of Mexico Dead zone
- zone in the Gulf of Mexico that exists because of lack of oxygen
- creates hypoxia in mollusks and invertebrates
- fertilizer runoff from Midwestern fields and manure runoff from livestock pollute the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill 2010
- Deepwater Horizon exploded resulting in the largest oil spill in the history of the US
- killed 11 workers
- BP owned the drill
Honey Bee Colony Collapse 2006
- started in 2006
- effects honey bees where are the worker bees disappear and leave the queen and baby bees alone, which makes the nest not able to function
Hurricane Katrina
- deadliest and most destructive hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean in the 2005 hurricane season
- costliest natural disaster
- 1 of the 5 deadliest hurricanes in US history
- started as a category 1 hurricane over the Bahamas
- flooded levee system
Iraqi Seed Grain Poisoning 1971-72
- mass methyl-mercury poisoning that began in 1971
- grain is treated with methyl-mercury fungicide and was never intended for human consumption; this was imported into Iraq as seed grain from Mexico and the US
- due to foreign language labeling and distribution, the toxic grain was consumed by many Iraqi residents
- people suffered from Parathesia (numbness of skin), Ataxia (lack of coordination of muscle movements) and loss of vision
- reports after the disaster recommended tighter regulation, better labeling and handling of mercury-treated grain
- wider involvement of the World Health Organization in monitoring and preventing poisoning incidents
Love Canal
- main reason CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act) exists
- worst toxic waste dump
- 56% of kids born had birth defects
- Lois Gibbs was very influential in getting the government to pay for housing for the people living in Love Canal, whom needed to relocate
Minamata Disease (Japan)
- form of mercury poisoning among people who ate fish from mercury-contaminated waters of Minamata Bay off Japan in the 1950s
Santa Barbara Oil Spill
- 3rd largest oil spill in the US
- largest oil spill off the coast of California
- blow out on Union Oil's Platform A
- within 10 days, around 80,000-100,000 barrels of crude oil spilled into the channel and onto the beaches
- killed 3,500 sea birds and marine animals
- public outrage resulted in numerous pieces of environmental legislation which formed the legal regulatory framework for the modern environmental movement
- National Environmental Policy Act
Seveso: Italian Dioxin- 1976
- explosion of one of the reactors of a chemical company in Italy
- this released TCDD (high toxic forms of dioxins)
- mainly affected Seveso, but also affected neighboring country's
- European legislation introduced prevention and control of heavy accidents with toxic substances
- 600 people evacuated from homes
- 2000 people treated for dioxin poisoning
- 2500 died
Three Gorges Dam
- dam built across the Yangtze River that displaced over 1.5 million people during its construction
- World's largest hydro-power project
- most notorious dam
- environmental impacts are profound, likely to get worse as time goes on
- submergence of hundreds of factories, mines and waste dumps
- presence of massive industrial centers upstream are creating silt, industrial pollutants and waste in the reservoir
- erosion of the reservoir and downstream riverbanks cause landslides, threatening one of the World's biggest fisheries in the East China Sea
- lot of controversy on the long term impacts of the dam
Three Mile Island- 1979
- mechanical failure and human error at a power plant in Pennsylvania that caused radiation to disperse over a 16 mile radius
- cooling malfunction caused part of the core to melt in the #2 reactor
- no injuries or adverse health effects
- site is still in remediation, but is close to having no remaining effects