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Danube River Contaminated With Mining Sludge, Millions Could Be Affected

Danube River Contaminated With Mining Sludge, Millions Could Be Affected

Environmental officials’ worst fears were confirmed today as experts discovered deadly mining sludge has reached the Danube River, the second longest waterway in Europe and a source of water for millions of people.

A resevoir breach at the Ajkai Timfoldgyar alumina plant on Tuesday unleashed 185 million gallons of toxic red sludge, engulfing three villages and causing several fatalities.

The sludge, a waste product in aluminum production, contains heavy metals and is toxic if ingested.

TAKE ACTION: Demand stricter policies on industrial waste in Europe!

Hungarian authorities dumped plaster into local rivers and creeks in an effort to keep the toxic wastewater from reaching the 1,775-mile long Danube, a waterway that runs through four European capitals and makes up the border for 10 countries.

So far, Hungarian rescue agency spokesman Tibor Dobson claims that there is no immediate danger to the Danube and the multiple countries to which it supplies fresh water.

Dobson insists that the pH levels of the water where the slurry is entering the Danube are not hazardous, but made no comment about whether or not the caustic wastewater might contain toxic metals that could threaten wildlife and humans.

Payal Sampat, the international campaign director of Earthworks, an environmental organization that focuses on mining impacts has a drastically different opinion of the risks posed by the spill.

“It’s a toxic soup, full of chemicals used to process aluminum,” Sampat told USA Today. The sludge contains chemicals such as cadmium and lead which can cause neurological problems and burns.

A young man and a three-year-old child were killed when the flood was unleashed, and scores of locals suffered burns and eye irritation from contact with the red waters.

MAL, the aluminum production company that owns the Ajka plant, has said the red sludge is not considered hazardous waste, according to EU standards.

TAKE ACTION: Demand stricter policies on industrial waste in Europe!

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Image Credit: Novinite.com

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75 comments

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3:57PM PDT on Oct 24, 2010

Noted. Thanks.

4:24AM PDT on Oct 15, 2010

Here we can witness the shameless and irresponsible behaviours of tycoons, the weaknoss of politicians and the outcome of a liberal economy where money making stands high above security and environmental priorities.

3:20PM PDT on Oct 13, 2010

so sorry for you all, my heart and prayers go out to you

8:33PM PDT on Oct 12, 2010

So sorry for the people, land and watershed in Hungary being dumped on with this industrial waste. Aluminum production takes lots and lots of water, plus produces other toxic emmissions in the air.
PLEASE PLEASE ALWAYS RECYCLE ALUMINUM. here is some of what the link in the article mentions ..."The greenhouse gases resulting from primary production include perfluorocarbons (PFC), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), fluoride, sulfur dioxide (S02), and carbon dioxide (CO2). Of these gases, PFC's resulting from the smelting process are the most potent. Primary aluminum production is the leading source of perfluorocarbon emissions in the United States. PAH emissions result from the manufacture of anodes for smelters and during the electrolytic process. Sulfur dioxide and sodium fluoride are emitted from smelters and electrical plants. SO2 is one of the primary precursors of acid rain. CO2 emissions occur during smelting and result from the consumption of carbon anodes and from PFC emissions."

8:01AM PDT on Oct 12, 2010

How can they claim it's "not hazardous waste" when people have already been sickened and died from contact with it?

3:24AM PDT on Oct 12, 2010

I'm living here, next to Danube (about 200 km)
and the great polluted wave is expected next 12 hours. Vegetation and animals, both of the river and the earth are in most dangerous situation! Who's the culprit? May be we'll never know. But we are the great CLIENTS.
What's going on?

2:28PM PDT on Oct 11, 2010

A sad indictment of mans stupidity. Every thing we build has a life span which is also affected by things like the environment. Why was this reservoir allowed to deteriorate to this degree. Simple, arrogance.
Whilst the long term damage may not be very serious it remains another tragedy that should never have happened.

Make a difference, give Love, Understanding and Tolerance. Plant a Tree.

12:45PM PDT on Oct 11, 2010

thankyou for shareing

1:29AM PDT on Oct 11, 2010

thanks

10:40PM PDT on Oct 10, 2010

This is horrible!

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