Mal Zrt. Sludge Spill Updates

Updates on Hungarian Mal Zrt. spill reveal some significant social and scientific developments surrounding a major toxic spill that many compare to recent BP Gulf of Mexico Deepwater oil spill.

For one, Hungarian government has taken over the operations of Mal Zrt. while detaining its Hungarian executive (it has an international executive board) for 72 hours in custody. The authorities say that the company will be paying for damages and cleanup, using public service workers to rebuild a new reservoir. The reservoir will be completed by Tuesday.

The kind of swift action on the part of Hungarian government puts US government and its treatment of Deepwater oil spill to shame. The press and rescue workers did not have to contend with facing private military operations barring them from access to affected areas. Nor is anyone trying to save the money and integrity of Mal Zrt. private operations. Quite the contrary, Hungarian government seems to be tackling the seemingly impossible task of containing a potentially cancerous toxic spill with gusto and a sense of justice.

Meanwhile, the sludge analysis reveals twice as much arsenic in this alumin oxide by-product, as well as high concentrations of chromium and mercury. This chemical soup represents a major concern to both Hungary a neighbouring countries, especially since Danube is relatively close to the spill, as are sources of groundwater. Environment may take years to recover, warn experts, while the villages that received the first wave of sludge may be abandoning their possessions for good, as many will not be able to return to their homes.

European Commission will be fully involved with the cleanup efforts, and the bill for it, will of course, come out of the profit margins of the company at the heart of this major environmental disaster. Mal Zrt. is just not lucky enough to be based in the US.