News / Europe

WWF: Toxic Sludge Leaking for Months in Hungary

In this photo made available 09 Oct 2010, police and army officials are helping during the evacuation of western Hungary's  village of Kolontar, 08 Oct 2010
In this photo made available 09 Oct 2010, police and army officials are helping during the evacuation of western Hungary's village of Kolontar, 08 Oct 2010

Multimedia

Audio
  • Bos Report from the Scene of the Toxic Reservoir Flood

TEXT SIZE - +

An environmental protection group says the wall of a toxic sludge reservoir that burst earlier this week in western Hungary has been leaking for months.

WWF said Saturday the disaster that flooded several towns with toxic waste could have been avoided.  The Swiss-based organization said aerial pictures taken in June and published on its website "clearly" show toxic mud leaking from the sludge reservoir.

Listen to Stefan Bos' Report from the Scene of the Toxic Reservoir Flood

WWF's director says the incident points to "neglect" and poor regulation of the facility.

The reservoir burst Monday at the Ajkai Timfoldgyar metals plant, about 160 kilometers west of Budapest.  The general manager of the plant told VOA the bursting of the wall was not a "human error."  But Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban denied the manager's claim.  Mr. Orban said the responsible party will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Earlier Saturday, Mr. Orban said the wall of the reservoir that burst Monday is "very likely" to collapse.  The prime minister said the reservoir wall is showing visible cracks.  He said about 500,000 cubic meters of the corrosive material would be released if the wall falls.

He made the comments Saturday after authorities evacuated Kolontar, which is near the damaged reservoir.

Hungarian officials say the reservoir break released some 700,000 cubic meters of caustic mud.

Interior Minister Sandor Pinter said Friday the escaped sludge has not affected the drinking water supply and is not a threat to the Danube River.  However, the environmental group Greenpeace said tests show a high concentration of heavy metals in the sludge and arsenic levels twice as high as what is normally found in aluminum plant runoff.

The sludge has devastated three Hungarian villages west of Budapest, the capital, and has killed seven people.  More than 120 people have been injured.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

You May Like

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Open Source Seeds Hit the Market, Raise Awareness

First open source seeds include 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid