Plant managers on trial for toxic mud spill in Hungary
Employees of the chemical plant have been charged with negligence, waste management violations and damages to the environment.
Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Destruction from the 2010 red sludge disaster in Hungary. (Photo: ZUMA Press)
BUDAPEST — The head of an alumina plant that caused a massive toxic spill in western Hungary in 2010 went on trial on Sept. 24 along with 14 employees, all accused of negligence.
Ten people were killed and some 150 injured after a holding reservoir at the MAL alumina plant in Ajka burst its walls on Oct. 4, 2010, sending 1.1 million cubic meters (38.8 million cubic feet) of poisonous red sludge into the surrounding area.
The 15 accused, headed by MAL's managing director Zoltan Bakonyi, have been charged with negligence, waste management violations and damages to the environment.
Witness hearings are to be held at the court in Veszprem, near the site of the disaster, until late October. It was unclear when a verdict was expected.
MAL Hungarian Aluminium Production and Trade Company was already ordered in September 2011 to pay 135 billion forints (477 million euros, 615 million) to the regional environmental authorities.
It was however allowed to continue production, despite the spill, which officials have called Hungary's worst chemical disaster.
Copyright 2012 AFP Global Edition