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Timeline: Chronology of Environmental Key Events

All Events

1950s

1960s

1970s

1980s

1990s

2000s

Policy

Economy

Science

Technology

Environm.

Society

Culture

Military

Health

Legal

Education

Religion

Other

 

The 1950s

 

V

1958-1961: Large-scale deforestation due to cultivation of wooded areas and firewood demand (backyard furnaces).

 

The 1960s

 

V

1960: Increasing use of tube wells for irrigation in Northern China will lead to groundwater depletion in the 1990s.

 

The 1970s

 

V

1970-1980: Based on a 50-year forest inventory, researchers find that between 1970 and 1980 Chinese forest expanded significantly. Science, Vol. 292. no. 5525, pp. 2320 - 2322 (June 22, 2001)0

 

V

1976, July: Massive earthquake (7.8 Richter scale) devastates the city of Tangshan (Hebei Province). At least 270,000 people die.

 

The 1980s

 

V

1989: Revision of the environmental legislation from 1979.

 

The 1990s

 

V

1993: Production of the pesticide DDT is officially stopped (but illegally used for several subsequent years).

 

V

1993: Widespread concerns among environmentalists about the Three Gorges Dam project.

 

V

1995, Oct.: Earthquake in Yunnan (6.5 at Richter scale). 50 people die and 6,000 are injured. 170,000 people homless. External Link US Geological Survey (USGS)0

 

V

1997, Oct.: Certain environmental offenses are treated as crime and are included in the criminal code of China.

 

V

1998: WHO reports that of the ten most polluted cities in the world, seven can be found in China. External Link WHO

 

V

1998: Worst flooding in years - 230 million people affected and 3,656 dead. External Link US Library of Congress, Country Profile: China. Feb. 20050

 

V

1998, April: One of the most devastating sandstorm in decades is raging in Beijing for two days, blocking sunlight. External Link

 

The 2000s

 

V

2005, Nov.: Water supply of Harbin city is cut off after high concentration of benzene in Songhua river.

 

V

2005, Nov.: Attempts by regional government officials to cover up the water pollution catastrophe in Harbin.

 

V

2005, Nov.: Major pollution of Songhua river after explosion of petrochemical plant in Jilin city (Jilin Province).

 

V

2006, June: China surpasses the United States in carbon dioxide emissions due to fossil fuel use and cement production. External Link Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC)

 

V

2007, Oct.: Four million people have to be resettled within the next 10 to 15 years in the Three-Gorges Dam area.

 

V

2008, May: Earthquake strikes Sichuan province: Death toll reaches 20,000.

 

V

2008, May: Death toll of May 12 earthquake rises to 40,075.

 

V

2008, June: Death toll of May 12 earthquake rises to 69,016, with more than 18,000 people still missing.

 

V

2009, Aug.: China surpasses the United States as the world's largest producer of household garbage. External Link New York Times, August 12, 2009, A11

 

V

2010, April: Earthquake of magnitude 7.1 on Richter scale hits southern Qinghai province. External Link Xinhua, BBC, Reuters

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china-profile.com - 18 April 2012