The world has not had time to recover from ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico , as was once again struck the Earth's global environment, this time the threat came from the land. The first news began to penetrate within a few hours after the accident in the Hungarian town of Haik. In the evening hours on October 4 sounded a siren, located close to the enrichment plant alumina Ajkai Timfoldgyar Zrt, a breakthrough of the dam holding the so-called red mud. Toward the neighboring towns rushed flow of red, viscous and very dangerous liquid, at the time of burning out on the way all living things. According to initial data, the volume of sludge was about 600-700 thousand cubic meters, in what amounts were refined and made more than one million cubic meters. The area of flooding was more than four square miles around the plant. According to preliminary estimates from the sludge was spilled nearly fifty tons of arsenic and half a ton of mercury.
Less than half an hour the town was covered with two-meter layer of Kolontar hazardous sludge. In addition, the sludge had threatened the next town - Devecheru. In Kolontara hospital for a few hours turned over hundreds of people with injuries and burns of varying severity. In the region were sent to rescue forces around five hundred people and two helicopters.|
To prevent ingress of red mud in the rivers of the region were quickly carried out of the water treatment special adsorbent decomposing red mud to less toxic substances.
Rescuers started arriving work in search of wounded and dead. The fifth day of the first data were released - two people were killed, seven are considered bezvesti missing. Subsequently, the number of victims grew, until 11 October and amounted to eight people dead and forty-five people in critical condition.
Not knowing the size of the accident Hungarian Prime Minister - Viktor Orban spoke to the citizens, but his tour of European countries are not reversed. Understanding of the situation the government has come to only 7 October, then began to take measures to localize and eliminate the accident. In the region were sent additional forces from among the regular army, thus the elimination of consequences there were more than four thousand soldiers and rescuers. Was declared an emergency in the western regions of the country - Veszprém, Győr-Moson, Sopron and yours. Arrived on the scene personally Premier of Hungary. P>
Ninth October were published data on the occurrence of new cracks on the dam - the evacuation of surrounding communities and Kolontar Devechera part, to the same standby were five settlements. Cracks bore threat streaming more than half a million cubic meters of sludge. P>
To accelerate the pace has begun construction of a new dam more than a kilometer in length, a width of 25 meters and a height of five meters.
The tenth day, just one day the referendum was collected, considered and passed a law on the nationalization of the company's enterprises MAL. And on the eleventh of the arrest of Managing Director of the plant - Zoltan Bacon on charges of negligence. Bacon faces up to ten years in prison.
According to official sources the cause of the accident served as a negligent management of an enterprise. Shortly before the accident took place at the enterprise acceptance of planned repairs regulatory agency. Even the most conservative estimates, it will take at least a year to remove all the sludge.
The official cause of the accident - negligence of the company's management. This was broad enough concept may be hiding anything. But most likely this discrepancy is the strength and thickness of the dam necessary parameters or exceeding the terms of operation. As is well known crisis of 2008 most hit by metals, especially aluminum smelters are likely to leadership wanted to minimize their costs by increasing the service life of the old dam without overhauls.
What is the red mud?
Red mud is a waste of alumina production, which in turn phase of aluminum. In nature, aluminum does not occur in pure form, it is in the form of various compounds in a fraction of its total mass of rocks does not exceed fifty per cent. The most famous aluminum compound is alumina (Al2O3), used widely in industry for the production of abrasives. In the crust the aluminum content is sufficiently large, however, its extraction from ore - a process expensive.
There are two methods of extraction of aluminum from ore - electrochemical and chemical. Electrochemical method can proceed only with the use as raw material corundum. This process is very expensive, the cost of aluminum is obtained as in gold. Widely applied a different method of processing feldspar and bauxite by melt processing with alkali NaOH, in this case a "sodium aluminate and red mud.
In the production of one ton of alumina is obtained about a ton of red mud, in fact it is a concentrate, consisting of heavy metals (lead, bismuth, mercury, etc.), alkali, obtained by processing the breed reagent NaOH. Before serving, sludge deposited alkali is removed, but the full treatment can not be achieved. In addition, the sludge contains iron oxide (hematite), which gives the slurry and its bright and intense red color.
Processes for the processing of red mud to be developed, attempts to put into production cuttings taken even by Soviet scientists, but the cost of this project is not allowed to introduce the technology to the masses. The cheapest method of disposal is waste rock. To this end, we construct special tail - huge ponds with concrete bottom and strong walls dam, which is filled in red mud, after drying the sludge is placed above a layer of clay, sand and fertile soil, then planted recreational forest.
In fact, the red mud is a liquid ore with an incredible heavy metal content. For example, the concentration of mercury in the sludge is six times higher than in the richest natural ore.
How dangerous red mud?
Red mud is very dangerous to humans and all living things. In structure there are heavy metals that are known for their ability to provoke the growth of cancerous tumors. A strong alkalis present in the sludge, a few minutes can attack the skin, thereby causing a chemical burn. If the mercury acts almost instantly, causing a spasm of the lungs, the lead accumulates in the body gradually bring it impossible, causing the development of cancer. In this accident, the infection occurred waterway in Europe - the Danube. Virtually the entire length of the river in the country she was lifeless. Heavy metals settle to the bottom for self-purification of the river will take more than a hundred years, during which time all fish will be unfit to eat.
Contamination of water are concerned about the state, located downstream of the river - Ukraine, Moldova and others. May be irreparable damage to ecology and economy of the whole region, including countries in the Black Sea, which flows into the Danube.
The fact that the alkali erode not only the skin but also covers bodies of fish, so the incident can result in a reduction of flora and fauna, rivers and seas. P>
Nearby residents from the crash site has saved the steady rain. Lack of rain did not allow slurry soak into the depths of the earth and get into the groundwater. Lack of hot weather and no wind led to drying of sludge, otherwise he would have turned into dust, when inhaled, the body which cause irreparable damage - a large percentage of cancer, stroke, burns of the mucous of the internal organs and much more.
In the area of the city Aiki alumina refinery is the only place where work is almost all the inhabitants of the surrounding towns and villages, so the government decided to run the company as soon as possible, immediately, as soon as the construction of reinforced dam. Victims and bereaved families of the accident the government has promised payments of $ 15000 dollars.
On land that was contaminated, and now for many years there will be nothing to grow, and what would still be able to grow up - would be unfit for human consumption. In addition to this area can be added banks of the Danube and Black Sea.