A few days ago, a toxic sludge reservoir maintained by the Hungarian aluminium producer MAL inundation whole villages, killing seven and injuring over 100 people. It turns out that this reservoir has been unstable for some time. It has been leaking at least since June, as evidence posted by the WWF International proves. According to their website:
An aerial photograph taken in June showing a damaged and clearly leaking sludge pond wall shows that the toxic mud disaster in Hungary and subsequent pollution of rivers including the Danube could have been avoided, WWF-Hungary said today.The sludge pond dam wall burst Monday flooding six villages with toxic red mud. Another victim succumbed to injuries in hospital yesterday and two bodies were found during clean up operations today, taking the death toll to seven with one person still missing.“This new evidence of the degraded state of the walls and significant leakage more than three months before the incident should be cause for an urgent investigation, not just of this disaster but of the state of Hungary’s other toxic sludge ponds,” said Gábor Figeczky, the Acting Director of WWF-Hungary.
Today, Hungarian authorities have evacuated Kolontár as they fear another inundation with toxic sludge the reservoir might break completely. Writes Le Monde:
The nightmare continues in Hungary. The village of Kolontár was completely evacuated on Saturday October 9 as authorities feared a second inundation of the red toxic sludge.While the ecologic catastrophe that happened on Monday already has cost the lives of seven and injured close to 150, the reservoir of the bauxite-aluminium factory near Ajke that caused the deadly spill which threatens the ecosystem of the Danube river is at the risk of collapsing completely from new fissures discovered in the dam.
It’s worth remembering, that the population – mostly farmers – have no lost their entire livelihood, as the land they were cultivating is now toxic. It is also worth noting that the proprietor, the Bakonyi family, of MAL, the company which is responsible for the spill, is among the richest 100 families in Hungary (28 to be precise), writes the Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger.
This is, of course, another example of the Capitalist paradigm in which the profits are for a few, while the costs are to be shared amongst everyone else.