Entries in Toxic Sludge (4)


Aluminum Company to Pay $646M Fine for Hungarian Sludge Spill

ABC News(BUDAPEST, Hungary) -- The aluminum company responsible for last year's enormous toxic sludge leak in Hungary will now have to pay a fine totaling up to $646 million, according to BBC News.

The MAL Zrt leak killed 10 people and released an unheard-of amount (184 million gallons) of hazardous materials causing environmental harm.  Once the sludge reached the Danube, more than 150 people were injured, BBC News reports.

Now, officials say MAL Zrt will have just two weeks to either appeal the judgement or pay the fine.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hungarian Toxic Sludge Visible From Space

Photo Courtesy - NASA(NEW YORK) -- The toxic sludge from a reservoir spill at an aluminum plant in Hungary can be seen from space.  At least eight people have died as a result of last week's spill and more than 120 people have been burned.  Environmental advocates on the scene tell ABC News tests show the sludge is far more caustic than the dust at ground zero on 9/11. 

Pictures from Nasa's Hubble telescope show a fearsome sight.  The red sludge flows for miles.  While NASA does sometimes enhance the color in many of its images, it says this one is natural. 

The alkaline mud is a byproduct of the aluminum manufacturing process, which uses caustic soda to turn bauxite, or aluminum ore, into the lightweight metal.   The spill decimated the Marcal River in western Hungary before flowing in a more diluted state into the Danube River.  Officials and environmentalists are gravely concerned about the long-term health risks associated with the sludge. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Toxic Sludge Turns Hungary Town Into Red Ocean

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News(KOLONTAR, Hungary) -- Four people are dead and hundreds have evacuated areas affected by a toxic chemical spill in Hungary on Monday.  The Hungarian government has even launched a criminal investigation into the disaster.

Although officials have not determined an official reason for why a wave containing an alarming amount of toxins would barrel down from the reservoir after a dam burst at a local metal processing plant, recent rain storms are believed to have weakened the mud and rock walls that held back the factory's waste waters.

Residents of Kolontar -- the first town hit by the sludge -- such as Ferenz Andor say they saw the river of sludge pouring out.  Andor told ABC News that the sludge looked like an ocean of red.

On Wednesday, crews were working nonstop to clear the streets, spraying the sludge with water, corralling it and then scooping it up with shovels.

"If it gets to your skin, it's causing like a burning," Gergely Simon of the Clean Air Action Group said. "If it gets to your eyes, you get blinded. If you swallow it, you die."

The fear now is that the sludge could seep into the rivers including the Danube River. As of Tuesday, authorities said that the sludge is five days away from reaching the Danube. If it does reach it, the sludge will flow into six other European countries -- Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Moldova -- before it reaches the Black Sea.

"This is the most important thing, if it goes directly to the Danube it could really be a huge ecological catastrophe," Bendek Javor, Chair of the Sustainable Development Committee of the Hungarian Parliament, said.

Already, the sludge has reached the Marcal River. Emergency workers poured 1,000 tons of plaster into the water to try to keep it from flowing into the Danube.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Toxic Sludge Continues to Flow in Hungary

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News(HUNGARY) -- Hungary is experiencing an "ecological catastrophe" as toxic sludge containing a unique combination of deadly toxins flows from an aluminum plant toward the Raba and Danube Rivers. 

The incident was set off when a dam burst at a local metal processing plant.

"When I heard the rumble of the flood," said one resident, "I only had time to jump out of the window and run to higher ground."

Four people are known to have died while between 80 and 90 people were taken to the hospital Tuesday night with chemical burns.

Additionally, almost 500 police officers and soldiers, including six emergency detection teams, have been deployed. 

To prevent further flooding, plaster has been poured into the Marcal River in an effort to bind the sludge.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio