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All water life in Hungary`s Marcal river is dead: Official

Last Updated: Thursday, October 7, 2010 - 21:47

Budapest: The entire ecosystem of a small
river in Hungary which is situated in the area affected by a
deadly toxic mud spill has been destroyed, a disaster relief
chief said on Thursday.

"The entire ecosystem of the Marcal river has been
destroyed, because the very high alkaline levels have killed
everything," Tibor Dobson, head of the regional disaster
relief services, told the Hungarian news agency MTI.

"All the fish are dead and we haven`t been able to
save the vegetation either," he said.

"We`ve tried to lower the alkaline levels at several
points on the Marcal with acid and gypsum. But it`s been in
vain," he said, saying the aim was to bring the alkaline
levels below a pH level of 9 in the Raba and Danube rivers
so as to save their ecosystems.

On a scale of 1-14, pH values of 1-6 are acid, between
6 and 8 are neutral, and readings of 8-14 are alkaline.

The pollution comes from a toxic mud spill that
occurred on Monday in Ajka, 165 km west of Budapest, when the
containing walls of a residue reservoir at an alumina plant
burst, sending 1.1 million cubic metres of toxic red sludge
into surrounding villages.

Four people died in one of the villages, Kolontar,
from where the tiny Torna stream flows into the Marcal.

The Marcal is a tributary to the Raba, which in turn
flows into the Danube, Europe`s second longest river.

The pollution reached the main branch of the Danube at
midday (1000 GMT). But so far, there have been no sightings of
dead fish in either the Raba or the Danube.


First Published: Thursday, October 7, 2010 - 21:47

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