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Toxic sludge reaches mighty Danube river

rhondathompson, [email protected]

Toxic sludge reaches mighty Danube river

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KOLONTAR, Hungary – The toxic red sludge that burst out of a Hungarian factory’s reservoir reached the mighty Danube today after wreaking havoc on smaller rivers and creeks, and downstream nations rushed to test their waters.
The European Union and environmental officials fear an environmental catastrophe affecting half a dozen nations if the red sludge, a waste product of making aluminum, contaminates the Danube, Europe’s second-longest river.
Officials from Croatia, Serbia and Romania were taking river samples every few hours today but hoping that the Danube’s huge water volume would blunt the impact of the spill.
The Hungarian reservoir break on Monday disgorged a toxic torrent through three villages and creeks that flow into waterways connected to the Danube. Creeks in Kolontar, the western village closest to the spill site, were still swollen and ochre red days later and villagers said they were devoid of fish.
The red sludge reached the western branch of the Danube early today and its broad, main stretch by noon, Hungarian rescue agency spokesman Tibor Dobson told the state MTI news agency.
Dobson said the pH content of the red sludge entering the Danube had dropped and was unlikely to cause further environmental damage. It had been tested earlier at a pH level of 13 and now was down under 10, and no dead fish had been spotted in the Danube, he said.

Here, Children stand on a bridge over the River Marcal containing the toxic red sludge that spilled on Monday from a giant industrial container near Mersevat, Hungary. “Life in the River Marcal has been extinguished,” Rescue official Tibor Dobson told The Associated Press, referring to the river’s 25-mile (40-kilometre) stretch that carried the red waste from Kolontar into the Raba River and onto the Danube.