Romania - 6 wks ago it was Cyanide; Now it's a mine spill - 20,000 tons of metal pollutants headed for rivers : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Romania suffers another toxic spill

From Time to Time: Nando's in-depth look at the 20th century

BUCHAREST, Romania March 10, 2000 9:29 p.m. EST

- Just six weeks after a major cyanide spill there, the Romanian government said 20,000 tons of metal pollutants escaped from a mine Friday in the northwestern part of the country.

The new spill occurred when melting of snow and torrential rains broke a dam at the state-owned Baia Borsa mine, sending a wave of zinc and lead-laden waters into Vaser River.

The environment ministry said in a statement that the polluted waters were heading toward the Tisza and the Danube rivers, already damaged by the previous escape of cyanide.

Hungary said it was testing the waters of the Tisza. The Vaser enters the Tisza near the Ukrainian-Romanian border.

The hazardous metal pollution had already reached Ukraine and was expected to be carried by the Tisza into Hungary Friday night, he said.

There was no immediate word of how much environmental damage such an escape of pollution-laden water could cause. However, Andrei Svoronos, head of Romania's Danube Delta natural reserve, said he believed that the ore would not flow as far as the cyanide did because it would settle into the river beds.

The latest spill came six weeks after tons of cyanide-laden waters spilled into a creek from the Aurul gold mine. The pollution flowed into three Balkan rivers and the Danube, killing wildlife and temporarily poisoning water supplies for river communities.

Sources: 2000 Nando Media, Associated Press,2107,500179318-500235747-501159658-0,00.html

-- Lee Maloney (, March 11, 2000

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