The Environment Chronicle

Notable environmental events between 2001 and 2001 Deselect

  1. WTO declared its founding day of November 19 as "World Toilet Day" and this is now being celebrated by members all over the world. Thus increasing awareness and generating local action for better sanitation.

  2. On 5 November 2001, the General Assembly declared 6 November of each year as the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict (resolution 56/4). In taking this action, it considered that damage to the environment in times of armed conflict impairs ecosystems and natural resources long after the period of conflict, often extending beyond the limits of national territories and the present generation.

  3. Seventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 7) took place from 29 October to 10 November 2001 in Marrakech, Morocco. Among the key outcomes of the Climate Change Conference were the Marrakesh Accords; this consisted of a package of 15 decisions on structuring and implementing the Kyoto-Protocol, including a system for monitoring compliance, using the Kyoto-Mechanisms the crediting of carbon sinks, and promoting climate action in developing countries. The adoption of the Marrakesh Accords at COP 7 smoothed the way for the Kyoto Protocol's entry into force.

  4. A huge explosion ripped through AZF (Azote de France) fertiliser factory in an industrial zone on the outskirts of Toulouse, southwest of France, on 21 September 2001. The explosion had occurred in a warehouse in which granular ammonium nitrate was stored flat, separated by partitions.

  5. The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Directive is an important step forward in European environmental law. Directive 2001/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment entered into force on 21st July 2001 and has to be implemented by Member States before 21st July 2004. Article 1: "The objective of this Directive is to provide for a high level of protection of the environment and to contribute to the integration of environmental considerations into the reparation and adoption of plans and programmes with a view to promoting sustainable development, by ensuring that, in accordance with this Directive, an environmental assessment is carried out of certain plans and programmes which are likely to have significant effects on the environment.

  6. The 6th Climate Change Conference in 2000 in The Hague was adjourned without result. COP 6-2, the continuation of this summit, took place in summer from 16 to 27 July 2001 in Bonn. This meeting ultimately reached agreement on the main unresolved issues of the Kyoto-Protocol. The Bonn Agreements on international climate policy were an historic achievement: in spite of the US backing out of the Kyoto Protocol in March 2001, at COP 6-2 the Parties reached an agreement and established the conditions needed to ratify and implement the Kyoto Protocol. On 21 July 2001 the COP 6 President, Dutch environment minister Jan Pronk, submitted a proposal to ministers with compromises on the four disputed issues (CO2-sinks, the design of the Kyoto Mechanisms, the system for monitoring compliance, support for developing countries). After numerous consultations and two nights of negotiations, a generally acceptable compromise was reached on the basis of this proposal. On 23 July 2001 COP 6-2 accepted the negotiation oucome in a consensus of the Parties (with US abstention).

  7. In Germany the Ordinance on Organic Solvents (Ordinance on the limitation of emissions of volatile organic compounds due to the use of organic solvents in certain facilities ? 31st BImSchV.) entered into force. By this the European Directive 1999/13/EG has been converted into national law. For new industry plants the ordinance becomes immediately valid, for existing facilities there is a transitional period lasting till 2007. The target is to lower the emission of organic solvents during their application by further 250,000 tons every year. The ordinance covers different activities such as varnishing, printing, and gluing as well as textile cleaning or the production of shoes and medical drugs, whenever their consumption of solvents exceeds a sectoral limit.

  8. The United Nations proclaimed May 22 The International Day for Biological Diversity (IBD) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. When first created by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly in late 1993, 29 December (the date of entry into force of the Convention of Biological Diversity), was designated The International Day for Biological Diversity. In December 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted 22 May as IBD, to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention on 22 May 1992 by the Nairobi Final Act of the Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity. This was partly done because it was difficult for many countries to plan and carry out suitable celebrations for the date of 29 December, given the number of holidays that coincide around that time of year.

  9. The Zainab, a Georgian-flagged tanker, was carrying 1,300 tonnes of fuel oil when it sank off the port of Jebel Ali, south of Dubai. There were fears that the spill would reach the coastline and the desalination plants which supply Dubai with fresh water.

  10. The last phase of realization of the environmental requirements for large combustion plants has been completed. In the New Laender all the power stations and cogeneration plants driven by fossil fuels (coal, gas, and oil) with an output of more than 50 megawatts which have not been modernised must be shut down. Thus one of the most successful measures of melioration of air quality in the New Laender has been finalised.

  11. A freighter carrying sulfuric acid sank in the Bay of Biscay off the northern coast of Spain on March 20, 2002. The Balu, a 24-year-old Maltese-registered ship, sank en route from Frederiksen, Denmark to the south of Spain. The ship was carrying about 8,000 tons of sulfuric acid when it sank about 136 miles north of the Spanish coast.

  12. More than two thirds of the emissions of important pollutants into German waters come from so called "fugitive sources", following a study of the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI). The scientists, jointly with their colleagues of the Karlsruhe University, elaborated the first survey on emissions of important pollutants into German waters on behalf of the Federal Environment Ministry and the Federal Environmental Agency. The researches summed up all the emissions from the industry, the municipalities as well as several fugitive emissions into rivers and lakes, such as erosion or groundwater. The period of examination has been 1993 to 1997.

  13. On 16 January 2001, the Ecuadorean-registered tanker Jessica ran aground at Wreck bay, at the entrance to the port of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the Galápagos Province, located on the southwestern coast of San Cristóbal Island. A total of 800 000 litres of diesel and fuel oil spilled into the sea.

  14. Medicinal Plant of the Year 2001 is the Mountain tobacco or Mountain arnica(Arnica montana).

  15. Vegetable of the Year 2001: Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum MILL.)

  16. Spider of the Year is the Wesp spider (Argyope bruennichi).

  17. Fungus of the Year 2001 is the Choiromyces meandriformis.

  18. Bird of the Year 2001 is the Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus).

  19. Insect of the Year 2001 is the Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa).

  20. Animal of the Year: Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus)

  21. Tree of the Year 2003 is the European Ash (Fraxinus excelsior).

  22. Flower of the Year 2011 is the Bloody Crane's-Bill(Geranium sanguineum).

  23. Fish of the Year: Sturgeon (Acipenser sturio L.)