Tag: mud

Red Sludge on the Blue Danube

In Almásfüzitő, a small factory settlement on the banks of the Danube, hazardous waste is being used to create a topsoil to cover solidified red sludge – residue from a long-closed alumina factory. Stored in large waste reservoirs, the largest of which is just a few hundred metres from locals’ homes, this residue from bauxite processing is separated from the Danube only by a permeable mud wall.

However, neither the state nor locals are up in arms. The company that manages the site, Tatai Environmental Protection Ltd. (TKV), has a valid permit and, for the most part, locals are annoyed at the attention the red mud reservoir attracts from environmentalists and media alike. Maybe, then, the standard way outsiders have looked at Almásfüzitő is wrong. What would it mean to see the settlement in a more positive light?

How about this?

Nestled on the banks of the Danube surrounded by lush vegetation, Almásfüzitő is home to state-of-the-art sports facilities, a kindergarten and primary school that are the envy of the region, a freshly renovated replica Roman camp, and a boat club. It has pretty much full employment, connections by road and train to nearby cities and Budapest, it boasts a well-maintained central square and now has a conscientious mayor who is developing the local infrastructure and has ambitious plans for the future.

Unlike many other post-industrial settlements that have failed to find their place in the last decades, Almásfüzitő is doing fine. Why then, should the settlement be defined by red mud and toxic waste?


To read more of this co-authored article with investigative journalist Gabi Horn, read here


Red Mud, a Divided Settlement and the Toxic Waste Poisoning Hungary

Environmentalists, and the EU, have long voiced concern over a toxic waste site on the banks of the Danube in northern Hungary. So why do most locals living nearby quietly tolerate it?

Together with investigative journalist Gabi Horn, I wrote an article trying to answer this question. Available here.



Environmental Injustices in Central and Eastern Europe

Covering complex topics such as environmental injustice calls for novel reporting approaches. If a topic needs the skills of social scientists, environmental experts and investigative journalists, why not gather those skills in a team? The results might transgress the boundaries of traditional journalism or academia, but they do justice to issues that are otherwise inadequately covered.

With this in mind, working together with Dumitrita Holdis, I c0-organised the ‘Black Waters’ project that brought together two teams of social scientists, journalists, and environmental experts from the Center for Media Data and Society at the Central European University, Balkan Insight and Átlátszó. This transnational, multidisciplinary collaborative project sought to experiment in developing new reporting methodologies while investigating two cases of environmental injustice: sturgeon poaching in the Romanian Danube Delta and toxic waste mismanagement in Almásfüzitő, Hungary.

The results of which are collected here and here and here (and below).

They include: