The Central and Eastern Europe region of the Global Water Partnership (GWP CEE) has called for pollution prevention and the regular inspection of polluter operations in light of the toxic sludge disaster in Hungary.
Within days of the disaster, GWP CEE met in Prague, Czech Republic, for its previously scheduled Steering Committee meeting. GWP CEE made clear its deep regret for the deaths and injuries and homelessness caused by the spill.
“Rescue services are now dealing with protection against further pollution of a creek that is flowing directly into the Mosonyi Danube,” the GWP CEE said in a statement. “The Danube River, the second longest river in Europe has been contaminated as well. Thus, a local problem of accidental spillage is now one of international concern.”
According to GWP CEE Technical Expert, Igor Bodik, “red slurry from the aluminum plant is highly alkalic and contains dangerous concentrations of heavy metals such as lead.” Cleaning up of the pollution will take years and cost billions of Hungarian forint.
“The main issue now is to prevent pollution of ground water and surface waters,” said the statement. Latest reports say that another part of the reservoir wall may collapse which would only compound the disaster.
GWP CEE has worked for years with the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) on several issues related to the Danube, not least its water quality. More information on the toxic spill is available on the ICPDR site and the official site of the Hungarian government.