Update: Hungary Toxic Sludge Reaches Masoni-Danube River (videos)
Toxic Sludge Update: Oct 7 - Toxic Sludges Reaches Tributary of Danube River, The Masoni-Daube
The red slurry toxic sludge that killed 4 people in Hungary has reached the the tributary of the Daube River, the Masoni-Danube.
On Monday, the toxic sludge burst from a mining reservoir sending about 185 million gallons of toxic slurry flooding nearby villages near the town of Ajka, a 100 miles south-west of Budapest.
Four people were killed, hundreds are missing and much of the aquatic life in the local river, destroyed.
Now, the fear is what will happen to the sludge now that it has reached the Danube River, Europe's second largest.
Tibor Dobson, head of regional disaster relief services, said there had been "sporadic losses of fish in the main branch of the Danube". Tests had shown contamination of the water.
Hungary has appealed for international assistance in the clean-up, although it insisted that it had the financial capacity to cope. The cost could be millions of pounds.
Initial reports show the pH levels dropping as the toxic sludge reaches the Danube River but the ecological concerns extend beyond the pH level of the water.
Payal Sampat, the international campaign director of Earthworks, an environmental organization that focuses on mining.
"It's a toxic soup, full of chemicals used to process aluminum," she says. The sludge contains chemicals such as cadmium and lead.
The sludge could enter groundwater supplies and underground reservoirs, Sampat says.
Since the Daube River borders 10 European countries and travels directly through 4 others this environmental disaster is a pan-European one.