Orbital View: Toxic Sludge in Hungary

By Elizabeth Weingarten

Via NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite:

toxic sludge NASA post1.jpg

On October 4, toxic red sludge began leaking out of western Hungary's Ajkai Timfoldgyar's alumina plant. The sludge, a byproduct of alumina production, flooded several local towns,  killed four people, and forced hundreds to evacuate. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, if the heavy metals in the sludge are absorbed by ground vegetation, they could continue to have negative environmental effects for decades.

NASA's Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA's Earth Observing-1 satellite shows the sludge flowing west from the alumina plant, which includes the bright blue and brick red reservoir shown on the image.   

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/10/orbital-view-toxic-sludge-in-hungary/64411/