08 October, 2010

Toxic Red Sludge in Hungary

On Monday, October 4, 2010, a large reservoir filled with red sludge in Western Hungary ruptured, releasing approximately 700,000 cubic meters (185 million gallons) caustic mud, which killed many animals, at least four confirmed deaths.

This aerial image taken Thursday Oct. 7, 2010 and made available by the environmental group Greenpeace shows toxic sludge covering the fields, streets and canals in the town of Devecser in Hungary. Red sludge flowed into the Danube River on Thursday, threatening a half-dozen nations along one of Europe's key waterways. Monitors took samples every few hour to measure damage from the toxic spill and emergency officials declared one Hungarian tributary dead. As cleanup crews gathered deer carcasses and other wildlife from the villages in southwestern Hungary flooded by the industrial waste, environmental groups warned of long-term damage to the farming region's topsoil.   (AP Photo/Greenpeace/Peter Somogyi-Toth, HO)Original Filename: Hungary-Sludge Flood.JPEG-0c272.jpg
A 12-foot-high flood of sludge inundated several towns, sweeping cars off the road as it flowed into nearby Marcal River.

Cars are piled up in a flooded parking lot in Devecser, about 150 kms southwest of Budapest, on October 5, 2010 after the village was submerged on October 4 by toxic red sludge from a local aluminium plant. Three persons died and 60 were injured in western Hungary when a reservoir of residue from aluminium production broke and flooded two nearby villages -- Devecser and Kolontar -- with toxic red mud.    AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEK (Photo credit should read ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 

The red sludge in the reservoir is a byproduct of refining bauxite into alumina, which took place at an alumina plant run by the Hungarian Alumina Production and Trading Company. Hungary opened a criminal probe into toxic sludge flood Wednesday (October 7, 2010) and the European Union urged emergency authorities to do everything they can to keep the contaminated slurry from reaching the Danube and affecting half a dozen other nations.

Over one million cubic meters of the poisonous chemical sludge inundated  three villages endangering thousands of people with an ecological catastrophe in the region.

A local resident rests on a chair in the garden of his house covered with red mud while rescuing his belongings in Devecser, 164 kms southwest of Budapest, Hungary, 06 October 2010, after a dike of a reservoir containing red mud of an alumina factory in nearby Ajka broke two days ago, and over one million cubic meters of the poisonous chemical sludge inundated three villages, killing four persons and injuring over hundred. Three people are unaccounted for and hundreds of families have been evacuated.  EPA/TAMAS KOVACS
A Hungarian man pushes his bicycle in front of his home flooded with toxic mud in the town of Devecser, Hungary, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010. Monday's flooding was caused by the rupture of a red sludge reservoir at an alumina plant in western Hungary and has affected seven towns near the Ajkai Timfoldgyar plant in the town of Ajka, 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Budapest. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky)   Original Filename: Hungary Chemical Accident.JPEG-03d27.jpg


(source: content - Jumakha); photos - consolidated from various sites)

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