Red Sludge Destroys Villages in Hungary

October 6, 2010 at 12:54 pm Leave a comment

Earlier this week in Kolontar Hungary an aluminum plant waste reservoir burst sending a wave of toxic red sludge into towns near Budapest.  The toxic red sludge is a byproduct of refining bauxite into alumina, the basic material for producing aluminum.  The red sludge had been accumulating for decades and the result was a red sludge that had a pH up to 13- capable of third degree burns.  Red sludge contains heavy metals and is toxic if ingested.



Photo provided by the EPA


The ‘red wave’ as people are now calling it, was as tall as 12 feet at times and killed four, sent six missing and injured up to 120 people.  Also chemical burns can take days to appear so the injuries are expected to climb.  The wave destroyed over 400 homes and around 40 people had to be rescued.  The poison control teams were in full body suits while many of the locals were only armed with rubber gloves.



Photo by Bela Szandelszky


So what can you do?  The Hungarian government is expecting a year or more to clean the 600,000-700,000 cubic meters of toxic red sludge and for most of the people in Kolontar there is a long road ahead.  There are things you can do at home. Maybe you don’t need to replace that older aluminum pot you have in the kitchen, or next time you are thinking of treating yourself to a soda ask for a bottle, or better yet a fountain soda in a glass.  Most importantly as we always try to promote at EnAct be aware of how your decisions make an impact on the world and how we are all in this together.  Find the whole story of the spill in Hungary here.

Be Green,



Entry filed under: consequences, consumption, environmental disaster, other, sustainability. Tags: .

World Car Free Day Small and Simple Things- a blog by Greener Faster Participants Melanie and Mike

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