Home | 68th Winners List | 68th Winners Gallery | 68th Judges | Past Competitions Multimedia | Advisory Board | History | POYi Director | Archive | Endowment | Sponsors | Contact   
Main | Science / Natural History Picture Story | Second Place
First Place
James Whitlow Delano

"Scorched Earth: China's Wounded Environment"

Second Place
Katalin Darnay

"The red mud catastrophe in Hungary"

Third Place
Preston Gannaway
The Virginian-Pilot

"Field to Feast"

Director's Choice
Joel Sartore
National Geographic Magazine

"Great Migrations"

Second Place
Katalin Darnay

"The red mud catastrophe in Hungary"

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

On the 4th of October, 2010, hundreds of thousands cubic meters of toxic, virulent red mudpoured out from the containment pond of the Hungarian Aluminium Production and Trade Company Ltd. next to the city of Ajka in Hungary. Because of a dam break the spilling sludge of around 600-700 000 cubic meters (21-24 million cubic feet) inundated the lower sections of the villages of Kolontár, Devecser and Somlóvásárhely. Ten people were killed, and many hundreds injured because of the mud, which flooded the half of the village Kolontár and the two-third of Devecser, up to two meters high in some places. The heavily alkaline, virulent industrial waste was spread over around 40 square kilometres (15.5 square miles), causing inestimable ecological and economical damages.


For 120 years the industry has been unable to deal with the by-product of the alumina production, the red mud. The main problem is the highly alkaline pH: it is ten times as strong as raw bleach.

Home | History | Archive | Endowment | Sponsors | Contact