Hungary Toxic Sludge Reaches Danube River: Top 10 Environmental Disasters Worldwide

By Zirulnick, Ariel | The Christian Science Monitor, October 7, 2010 | Go to article overview

Hungary Toxic Sludge Reaches Danube River: Top 10 Environmental Disasters Worldwide


Zirulnick, Ariel, The Christian Science Monitor


The toxic sludge now covering 15 square miles of Hungary and seeping into the Danube River is a serious environmental disaster whose severity and long-term consequences are still unclear. Will the release of the 35 million cubic feet of alumina refining waste become one of the Top 10 manmade environmental disasters of the past century?

The toxic sludge now covering 15 square miles of Hungary and seeping into the Danube River is a serious environmental disaster whose severity and long-term consequences are still unclear. Will the release of the 35 million cubic feet of alumina refining waste become one of the Top 10 manmade environmental disasters of the past century?

#10 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, 2010

When a blowout preventer failed on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, it led to an oil spill that lasted until mid-July and wasn't declared over until September. Almost 5 million barrels, or about 210,000,000 gallons, of oil are estimated to have been released into the Gulf - the largest accidental release of oil in history.

#9 Baia Mare cyanide spill, 2000

When a dam that had been holding back water contaminated from gold mining in Baia Mare, Romania broke, it released millions of gallons of water laced with cyanide and other heavy metals. The contaminated water reached the waterways of Romania, Hungary, and Yugoslavia, including the Danube River, and although rapid response prevented any human deaths, it resulted in massive fish kills. Greenpeace Hungary Director Zsolt Szegfalvi said that the amount of toxic material that poured out of the containment pool on Monday is almost 10 times the amount of material that was released in Baia Mare. Although the area is once again safe, Mr. Szegfalvi said, traces of the chemicals released in 2000 can still be found in the area around Baia Mare today.

#8 Gulf War oil spill, 1991

The Gulf War oil spill, when Saddam Hussein intentionally spilled oil into the Persian Gulf, resulted in anywhere from 240 million to 460 million gallons of crude oil poured into the Gulf. It remains the world's largest oil spill today.

#7 Exxon Valdez oil spill, 1989

The Exxon Valdez spill, which happened when an oil tanker ran aground off the coast of Alaska, is not one of the largest spills in history, but it is one of the worst in terms of environmental impact. …

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