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Chemical spill of epic proportions in Hungary

A spill of astronomical proportions has hit a small town in Hungary after an industrial sludge reservoir burst and the liquid poured through the town.

The torrent of red coloured industrial sludge was similar to a tidal wave in proportions when it escaped from the Ajkai Timfoldgyar plant near Ajka. It engulfed at least seven villages and was at 2m deep in places. Early reports suggest that at least four people drowned with over 100 injured. There are six people still unaccounted for, it’s thought that the dead drowned in the flood waters.

Because the disaster is on such a large scale, a state of emergency has been declared in three counties.

The chemical sludge is a residue of mining waste which contains heavy metals. The plant produces a synthetic aluminium oxide called alumina.

The estimated quantity of waste spilled is thought to be in the region of 700,000 cubic metres. The Hungarian Environment Minister has described the accident as Hungary’s worst chemical accident.

At least 2cm of soil from the surface of the contaminated area will have to be removed, which will be a huge undertaking.

Workers are frantically trying to stop the contamination entering the river Danube and 500 police offices and soldiers, with six emergency response teams are working day and night to tackle the spill.

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