The toxic sludge disaster in Hungary is visible from space. This natural-color image, courtesy of NASA's Earth Observatory, shows the area as of 9 October, 2010, five days after an accident at the Ajkai Timföldgyár alumina (aluminum oxide) plant in the west of the country. A gigantic reservoir unleashed torrents of caustic liquid waste when part of its container wall broke, flooding nearby villages, towns and fields, killing several people and destroying homes. The image, taken by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite, also shows a second, bright blue waste reservoir belonging to the plant.
The region is bracing itself for a potential second wave of red toxic sludge should the remaining walls of the reservoir give way. The sludge entered the River Danube on 7 October, moving towards Croatia, Serbia and Romania.