Danube River Hit by Toxic Sludge
The worst fears of environmental analysts in Hungary have been realized this morning as the red sludge hit the river Danube. Hungarys toxic sludge spill, which has killed four people, reached the Danube river today, threatening to contaminate the waterway's ecosystem, a water authority official said.
Emergency services spokesman Tibor Dobson told the state MTI news agency that the red sludge reached a western branch of Europe's second-largest river early Thursday. But he says that highly caustic slurry that left more than 100 people with chemical burns has been reduced to the point where it is unlikely to cause further damage to the environment.
Water alkalinity, a measure of river contamination, was already above normal in the major waterway, the official said. Samples taken at the confluence of the Raab river and the Danube showed "alkalinity slightly above normal, around 8.96 per cent to 9.07 per cent'', against a normal tally of eight per cent, the source said.
A wave of toxic mud was unleashed on Monday from the reservoir of an aluminium plant at Ajka, 160km west of Budapest. The red mud travelled down the Raab river and reached the Danube waters at Gyor.
The industrial accident triggered by the collapse of walls at the factory reservoir on Monday has been described as an ecological disaster and is now threatening the entire ecosystem of the Danube, Europe's second longest river.