Hungarian Toxic Sludge Threatens Eastern Europe
Rescue workers are struggling to contain the damage from a toxic sludge spill that killed at least four people and injured hundreds more.
An estimated 185 million gallons of toxic waste spilled after a reservoir burst at an aluminum refining plant, sweeping cars off the roads, damaging bridges and buildings, and forcing the evacuation of several towns. At least 7,000 residents of Western Hungary have been effected.
The sludge is a byproduct of the refining of bauxite into aluminum. It is extremely alkaline, causing it to burn through clothes and skin, and can be lethal if ingested.
One of Europe‘s main waterways, the Danube flows through Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Moldova before emptying into the Black Sea. Emergency workers are pouring thousands of tons of plaster into the now affected Marcal river to prevent the sludge from flowing into the Danube, just 45 miles away.