Hungary toxic sludge spill an 'ecological catastrophe' says government | World news | The GuardianHungary today declared a state of emergency in three western counties after a dam holding back a vast reservoir of toxic red sludge, from an alumina plant, burst, killing four people and injuring 120 others in what officials said was an "ecological catastrophe".
An elderly woman, a young man and a three-year-old child died in the deluge and six others were reported missing. Two of the injured were in a serious condition.
The sludge, which is waste produced during aluminium manufacture, swept cars off roads and damaged bridges and homes, forcing the evacuation of 400 residents. About 7,000 people are thought to have been directly affected by the spill.
A tsunami of toxic sludge. That area is going to be contaminated for yearsThe waste, known as red mud, is a mix of solid impurities, heavy metals such as cadmium, cobalt and lead, and the processing chemicals. The caustic mixture can burn skin on prolonged contact and is an environmental liability, difficult to store.