Industrial sludge disaster has spurred the Hungarian government to decare a state of Emergency. Toxic sludge leaked from a reservoir at the Ajkai Timfoldgyar Zrt alumina plant in the town of Ajka, located about 160 km south-west of the capital of Hungary leaving four people are dead and six missing. The sludge contains heavy metals such as lead which is slightly radioactive, and toxic if ingested. People suffered burns and it is estimated that around 120 people were injured.
Torrents of red sludge, burst from a containment pond and poured through six villages in three counties. Bridges and houses were damaged. Vehicles were swept from the roads. An area of 40 square kilometers in total has been affected.
The toxic sludge is the byproduct of bauxite, the ore of aluminum
This red mud has a pH level of up to 13 and acids are being poured into the Marcal River. This was done to neutralize the alkaline stream before the waste solution reaches the Raba and Danube rivers.
Since it is rainy season in Hungary, the sludge is feared to spread faster and may enter Danube River, creating further environmental problems.