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Fábrica que originó vertido tóxico en Hungría reanuda su actividad

13 Octubre 2010 , Escrito por El polvorín Etiquetado en #Politica

Hungary has announced that an aluminium plant behind a toxic spill that killed nine people and left scores injured and homeless has been cleared to start production again.

La empresa de bauxita-aluminio ya ha iniciado el calentamiento industrial y tan pronto se alcance la buena temperatura iniciará a producir

Las autoridades húngaras decidieron hoy 13 de octubre, reanudar la actividad de la fábrica de bauxita-aluminio causante del accidente industrial del 4 de octubre, que provocó la peor catástrofe ecológica en la historia del país y dejó nueve muertos, según el último balance. "Ya hemos iniciado el calentamiento industrial" y tan pronto se alcance la buena temperatura "reanudaremos la producción, mañana o viernes", afirmó Gyorgy Bakondi, comisario del gobierno encargado de administrar esa empresa, en una rueda de prensa común con el ministro del Interior, Sandor Pinter.

Este último indicó que "la vida es de nuevo segura en Devecser", la pequeña ciudad duramente afectada por el lodo rojo tóxico vertido hace nueve días.

Las autoridades decidieron levantar "el estado de pre-evacuación" vigente en esa ciudad desde el sábado pasado, tras la evacuación de Kolontar, el pueblo vecino que recibió la mayoría del flujo de lodo tóxico. Pinter indicó también que los habitantes de Kolontar podrían regresar a sus casas el sábado.

Un nuevo dique debe proteger en el futuro a la población de una eventual nueva inundación. "No habrá más catástrofes", aseguró Tibor Dobson, responsable regional de los servicios de lucha contra las catástrofes, en una entrevista radiofónica.

El tribunal municipal de Vezprem decidió por su parte "la puesta en libertad inmediata" del Zoltan Bakonyi, el director general de la empresa MAL -gestora de la fábrica- detenido por la policía el lunes, declaró a los periodistas su abogado, Janos Banati, sin dar más detalles.

Parlamento aprueba nacionalización de MAL
El parlamento húngaro había aprobado ayer la nacionalización de la empresa y nombró como nuevo director al jefe nacional de los Servicios de Lucha contra las Catástrofes, Gyorgy Bakondi, quien reportará "directamente al primer ministro y trabajará bajo su dirección durante un periodo de dos años".

Aunque las causas del accidente aún no fueron esclarecidas, la empresa MAL fue responsabilizada por varios miembros del Gobierno, que la acusaron de haber sobrecargado los depósitos de reserva. El secretario de Estado de Medio Ambiente, Zoltan Illes, aseguró que la empresa podría enfrentarse a una multa de 73 millones de euros (unos 100 millones de dólares). La compañía negó estas acusaciones.

El número de muertos debido al accidente ascendió a nueve con la muerte de una persona anciana, que sucumbió a sus heridas en el hospital donde se encontraba internada, indicaron los servicios de rescate. El accidente químico más grave registrado hasta hoy en Hungría hirió además a 150 personas, de las cuales 45 permanecen hospitalizadas, una de ellas en estado grave.

El 4 de octubre, una marea de lodo rojo altamente tóxico que se escapó de un depósito agrietado de la fábrica, explotada por el grupo húngaro MAL, se derramó en una superficie de 40 km2, destruyendo el ecosistema de los ríos Torna y Marcal, y bajo forma de líquido, llegó a Raab, afluente del Danubio, para después afectar a este mismo gran río.

Hungarian authorities have evacuated the village of Kolontar amid fears of a second wave of red toxic sludge [AFP]

Según las últimas estimaciones de los expertos, se derramaron entre 600.000 y 700.000 m3 de lodo tóxico, algo menos que la marea negra ocurrida que a fines de abril se generó en el Golfo de México, luego del accidente de una plataforma petrolera del grupo British Petroleum (BP).

elnuevodiario.com.ni AFP - VESZPREM - 12:36 - 13/10/2010

 
  

A toxic red sludge spill from a metals plant that has wiped out all life from one Hungarian river has entered the Danube, one of Europe's largest waterways.

Hungary sludge plant 'to re-open'

 
Official says metals plant behind deadly toxic spill could resume production by Thursday as detained executive is freed.
There are fears that dry weather conditions will cause toxins in the red sludge to be released into the air [Reuters] 

Last Modified: 13 Oct 2010 16:35 GMT - Hungary has announced that an aluminium plant behind a toxic spill that killed nine people and left scores injured and homeless has been cleared to start production again.

 

Gyorgy Bakondi, the country's national disaster chief, said production would resume on Thursday or Friday, as the prime minister visited the area around the plant.

"We have already switched on the industrial heating. As soon as the system has reached its operational temperature level, we will resume production," he said.

The announcement comes a day after the MAL Hungarian Aluminium Production and Trade Company that owned the plant was put under state control, where it will remain for the next two years.

The Hungarian government will freeze the assets of MAL and install its own representative or commissioner at the helm, who will then be responsible for resolving the current catastrophe.

The death toll from the disaster rose to nine on Wednesday as another victim died in hospital after suffering injuries in the toxic flood, the National Disaster Unit said.

Executive freed

Meanwhile, Zoltan Bakonyi, the managing director of MAL who was arrested earlier in the week, has been released from custody, after a judge on Wednesday ruled that prosecutors couldn't substantiate their charges.

Al Jazeer's Anita McNaught, reporting from Devecser, one of the towns nearest to the plant, said that Bakonyi had not yet cleared his name.

"He has been released from police custody. It does not mean that he will not be rearrested or that other directors of the company themselves might be taken in for questioning or indeed charged as a result of that," she said.

Viktor Orban, Hungary's prime minister, has blamed "human negligence" for the spill - which swept over three villages and caused an ecological disaster in a tributary of the Danube River.

The latest checks on the walls of the plant's reservoir have shown no further signs of deterioration, after a local village was evacuated over the weekend due to fears that cracks could lead to another spill.

Tamas Toldi, the mayor of Devecser, said he hopes the state of alert can be called off once a protective wall in neighbouring Kolontar is completed.

Lajos Tolnay, MAL's chairman, said the company would co-operate with an inquiry into what caused the spill but blamed natural causes for the disaster.

In an advance copy of an interview with him in the weekly Figyelo, due to be published on Thursday, he said: "We feel that we are not responsible because our view is that fundamentally it was an unavoidable external force, that is, the development of natural conditions, that caused the catastrophe."

"My colleagues have done everything according to the rules," he added.

  "Arsenic in the air"

The Hungarian Academy of Science (HAS) said the heavy metals found in the red mud did not pose a threat.

 

But it said further checks were needed to determine the full impact of the spill on the soil's ability to sustain life and whether it remained arable. Last Monday's spill affected over 1,000 hectares.

There are concerns over the air quality in the affected areas, with Greenpeace warning that residents could breathe in toxins in the mud if dry weather conditions continue.

"There is a lot of arsenic in the air, there is also arsenic in the soil samples, there is mercury in the soil samples, there is chrome in the soil samples and many other heavy metals are in the soil samples in different concentrations," Jurrien Westerhof, an engineer for Greenpeace, told Reuters.

devecser_ali_2010282-610x305.jpg

Toxic Red Sludge Spill in Hungary Seen From Space. Credit: NASA/Earth Observatory

devecser_ali_2010282_2-610x305.jpg

Toxic Red Sludge Spill in Hungary Seen From Space. Credit: NASA/Earth Observatory

On October 9, 2010, the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured this natural-color image of the area. The top image shows a close-up of the alumina plant and closest villages. The bottom image shows the wider region.

Hungary toxic sludge enters Danube
 
Officials seek to allay fears of an environmental disaster as corrosive red mud enters Europe's second largest river
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010
Dead fish were sighted in the Mosoni-Danube, a southern branch of the river, on Thursday and officials said that the Marcal, a tributary to the waterway, had been devastated by the sludge.

"The entire ecosystem of the Marcal river has been destroyed, because the very high alkaline levels have killed everything," Tibor Dobson, a spokesman for Hungary's disaster agency, told the Hungarian news agency MTI.

"All the fish are dead and we haven't been able to save the vegetation either," he said.

Residents have also reported local streams to be empty of wildlife.

The corrosive waste, which has high alkaline levels and could contain heavy metals, entered the Danube at around midday local time (10:00 GMT) on Thursday, disaster relief services said.

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