Video: Reservoir leak releases toxic sludge in Hungary

A tide of toxic sludge has poured over the Hungarian town of Ajka,160 kilometres south of the capital of Budapest, killing four people and injuring more than 120 others.

The sludge was released when a reservoir wall broke at an aluminium plant, spilling over one million cubic metres over about 40 kmĀ² of land. There are no current explanations as to how the wall collapsed.

Nearby villages of Devecser, Kolontar and Somlovasarhely have been inundated with those fleeing the sludge, and residents have been banned from eating local produce, hunting or fishing in the surrounding area. The toxic waste has a high pH, causing lung damage when inhaled as dust and severe burns from direct contact.

The brick-red slime is a by-product of the Bayer Process, an industrial process that dissolves bauxite using caustic soda to produce aluminium oxide. It consists of iron oxide (45%), with aluminium oxide, calcium dioxide, silicon dioxide, titanium oxide and oxygen-bonded sodium oxide.

A protective wall is being built around the spill and government authorities are pouring plaster into the contaminated local river, the Marcal, to prevent the pollution spreading any further. The EU is urging Hungary to ensure that the sludge does not reach the Danube, as it could further contaminate ecological communities.

A government spokesman told the BBC that the clean-up will take at least one year and tens of millions of dollars.

See more: Russian news service Russia Today have uploaded this disturbing footage of the sludge being cleared.


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  1. Mankind sure has been getting it wrong lately. It would be good if the smart money went to the smart people, then maybe we could solve the big problem of prcessing all the waste we create, instead of burying it or shoving it aside.

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