Bringing The World Home To You

© 2023 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
91.5 Chapel Hill 88.9 Manteo 90.9 Rocky Mount 91.1 Welcome 91.9 Fayetteville 90.5 Buxton 94.1 Lumberton 99.9 Southern Pines
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Red Sludge Toxicity Levels Dropping, Hungarian Government Officials Say

The toxicity of that red sludge has "dropped to the level allowed in drinking water," The Associated Press reports.

The test results released by the National Catastrophe Management Directorate on Friday further allay concerns that the river would be significantly polluted.

According to Al Jazeera, "Sandor Pinter, the interior minister, told a news conference on Friday that the spill had not affected the drinking water so far, and Anna Nagy, the government spokesman, said the food chain was safe."

"Let's not even consider the pollution that got into the Danube as real pollution now," Pinter said. "It will not be of an extent which would cause biological or environmental damage."

Some environmental groups, including the WWF and Greenpeace, are skeptical.

Yesterday, The Guardian reported the spill's "alkaline content in the Raba and Mosoni-Danube was around pH 9 -- the normal level is 6-8."

Gabor Figeczky, the WWF's Hungarian branch director, told the British newspaper that "the impact on the Marcal had been worse than expected, but the level of alkaline should dilute to safe levels once the sludge reached the Danube., Europe's second longest river."

According to the USA Today, two more bodies were found in the sludge today, and another man died from "injuries sustained in the torrent," as "the mighty Danube apparently absorbed Hungary's massive red sludge spill with little immediate damage."

The newspaper notes "laboratory tests heightened concerns about possible long-term harm caused by toxic heavy metals in the slurry."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

David Gura
Based in New York, David Gura is a correspondent on NPR's business desk. His stories are broadcast on NPR's newsmagazines, All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and he regularly guest hosts 1A, a co-production of NPR and WAMU.
More Stories