Toxic Sludge in A Modern World

What kind of world do we live in, where we have the technology and government forces to prevent disasters like this, but we do nothing to implement them? What kind of world do we live in, where the safety of others, both human and animal, and the protection of our home, this Earth, is not the highest priority? Money? Greed? Progress? They are nothing in comparison to the miracle of life. We could never hope to match the advancement which took place when a single cell sparked, and created life on this world. So why to we constantly threaten to destroy it?

The spill killed 4 people. 3 are still missing. 150 are injured (60 of those hospitalized), and all life in the Marcal River has been decimated. The village of Kolontar has been destroyed, and right now,the Hungarian Aluminum Production and Trade Company that owns the Ajkai Timfoldgyar plant has not been made to answer for the catastrophe, although some of their documents have been confiscated by police.  Now the Danube River has been threatened, and as it’s pH levels rise, the government dumps plaster into the rivers to prevent further spread.

The sludge being called “alumina” consists largely of iron oxide—hence the red color—aluminum oxide, silica, sodium, titanium and calcium oxides which are all harmless. The problem is that is also contains thorium and uranium which is what is highly toxic to the environment. Some of these ingredients combine to create lye, which is what burned victims. The “alumina” they produce are special calcined aluminas and aluminum hydroxides, synthetic zeolites and gallium used to make refractories, ceramics and a wide range of aluminum containing chemical reactants.

Click here to see a video of the sludge in action.

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Sources:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39550874/ns/world_news-europe/

http://io9.com/5656352/hungarian-toxic-sludge-kills-4-injures-at-least-120-++-and-it-may-be-headed-for-the-danube/gallery/

http://www.slate.com/BLOGS/blogs/scocca/archive/2010/10/07/alumina-demystified-hungary-is-awash-in-liquid-rubies.aspx

http://agmetalminer.com/2010/10/07/hungarian-alumina-refinery-disaster-what-exactly-is-this-red-mud/

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iVnaZGiZr_l7jWZJFyhawXFA8jCQD9IN09C80?docId=D9IN09C80

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