Jump to content
Green Blog

The red line that runs through Hungary after a massive sludge spill

In western Hunguary in October 2010 a retaining wall around a reservoir filled with toxic waste from an aluminum company burst open and released hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of deadly sludge. The stinking and toxic red sludge flooded the surrounding areas, rivers, and towns killing nine people and injuring hundreds with chemical burns.

Spanish photographer Palíndromo Mészaros has in a series of photos documented buildings, roads, and trees that were stained by a rust-red line after the two meter high toxic sludge had finally disappeared.

[caption id="attachment_10382" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Photo by Palíndromo Mészáros.[/caption]

The sludge contained heavy metals, including lead, and was slightly radioactive. If ingested it was toxic and could cause lung cancer if inhaled. All in all, an area of 40 square kilometers was affected by the Ajka alumina plant accident. Numerous villages had to be abandoned and the final clean-up bill ended at tens of millions of dollars. The head of the Ajka alumina plant was later arrested for criminal negligence and several employees at the plant were suspected of negligence in connection with the spill.

These photos were taken six months after the accident when, as Mészaros puts it, “the silence takes the place of the headlines and just The Line is left”. Mészaros “The Line” was exhibited at the Festival des Promenades Photographiques in Vendôme, France, last month.

User Feedback

Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content, analyze site traffic, and understand where our audience is coming from. To find out more, please read our Privacy Policy. By choosing I Accept, you consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies.