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Hungary and the Tizsa River

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1 Hungary and the Tizsa River
By Nathan Hamm Many of my photos came from here is the main sight must pics and info from there. Most of the information and the way it is presented is found in the report “The cyanide Spill at Baia Mare, Romania, BEFORE DURING AND AFTER This is a well documented accident I am presenting it in a collective way from all the sources I used like and and the CIA world fact book

2 Hungary Republic of Hungary Since 1989 Total area 93,030 sq km
Total area with water 960 sq km Comparative size Indiana Pictures of Hungary pg 1-6 from

3 Hungary vs. Indiana Picture of Indiana

4 The People Population 10,032,375 Came from a lineage called Magyar

5 Hungary was a major part the Austro-Hungarian Empire
Even though it was the Magyars who came to Hungary they have grown to be part of the land. They have fought and died here since 896 A.D.

6 Limited Resources Hungary has 50% arable land, it is mostly plains and rivers. The U.S. has 19.3% Hungary only 93,030 sq. km The U.S. has 9,631,418 sq. km

7 Land and water preservation
Land is made arable only if it has a source of water that feeds it. Water is the most important part of human life. A human can survive for over a month without food but not much over three days without water. When you “boil” all life and production down to its elements, water plays a dominant role.

8 Life blood Rivers have historically been a life blood to the land.
Important part of culture. Picture on ppt pg 8

9 Industry Every agricultural and industrial economy needs water.
Mining uses large quantities of water. But usually the chemicals used in the process are kept in pond-like holding areas enclosed by earthen dams until they can be purified.

10 Troubled Waters Romania, Hungary, Serbia, and Bulgaria have recently suffered an environmental disaster that has been dubbed the “Aquatic Chernobyl”

11 Background City Baia Mare. Mining facility called Aurul SA
Australian company “Esmeralda Exploration Limited”. Romanian government has part ownership.

12 Mining Area of Baia Mare
Chronic health problems. Some live 50 meters from waste ponds. World Health Organization labeled the area a hotspot even before the disaster. In the area lead levels in adults are 2.5 times higher then the recommended safety levels.

13 Factors Day of January 30, 2000 Snow thaw and heavy rains.
Human error. Earthen dam breaks.

14 Possible Human Factors
Romanian government had a “stake” in the company. Nearly no inspections. Relatively short expected period of operation. Australian Company was not under Australian laws.

15 The Disaster 100,000 cubic meters (some say up to 180,00) of liquid spills into Sasar river. 50 to 100 tons of cyanide is released along with large amount of copper and other heavy metals.

16 The Path

17 Rivers Sasar, to Lapus, to Somes, to the Hungarian part of the Tisza and Danube until it emptied into the Black Sea. 2000 km of the Danube effected. Affecting the water supply of 24 municipalities.

18 Bozanta Mare well water supply for 2000 people tested over 60 times acceptable levels.

19 Cyanide testing sites

20 Results 1-4

21 Results 5-7

22 What is Cyanide? Toxic class of compounds.
Used in gold mining to cause the precious metals gold and silver to “leach” out the ore. Human beings and other life can stand only tiny amounts of it.

23 Effects of Cyanide Cyanide blocks ingestion of oxygen by cells.
Long term exposure causes convulsions and eventually death.

24 Levels Romanian waterways peaked at 19.16 milligrams/liter
Feb 1 Hungary reports at Szamos 32.6 mg/liter more than 300 times the accepted 0.1 mg/liter

25 Aquatic Life Fish are almost one thousand times more sensitive to cyanide then humans are. Even from minimal exposure they suffer severely.

26 Saving Grace? Cyanide does decompose in sunlight.
There is some cyanide in nature b12 vitamin rich food have some in them.

27 Heavy Metals Do not break down and are “bio-accumulative”
Creates long-term effects.

28 Specific Heavy Metals Lead delays normal growth and increases blood pressure. Copper causes intestinal distress, and liver damage.

29 River Wasteland The polluted water flowed through Hungary for 12 days.
Experts speculate a near total loss of all animal and plant live in the river. Hundreds of tons of fish had to be disposed of from the river and its shores. The Tisza River was a legendary fishing river; it was in literature and poems through out Hungary.

30 More then just the river
Rare and unique fauna and flora in the Horto-bagy Marsh were endangered including five ospreys living in the Hortobagy National park. Cyanide was the known cause of the demise of two bald eagles, one was paralyzed and one was found dead.

31 Government Response Romanian Principal International Alert Center (PIAC) notified the Hungarian PIAC on Jan 31 at 8:54 P.M. Hungary was able to save some lakes and side streams. Tension between Hungary and Romania increase (already high due to Hungarian minority in Transylvania. Million are spent cleaning up the result.

32 Esmeralda Exploration Limited
The spill cost it 350,000 dollars per week in lost revenue. In June, the government of Hungary filed a $110 million lawsuit against Australian-based Esmeralda Explorations, Ltd.

33 No End in Sights The Tragedy of this spill has raised question about the use of Cyanide and possible safe alternatives. Czech Republic banned use of cyanide “leaching” in all mining. There has been several groups in the U.S.A. that have raised in debate over the continued use of Cyanide in Wisconsin, Montana, and Colorado. If you would like to get in contact with one go to or or

34 Bibliography of Information
Textual information gathered from these sources The Cyanide Spill at Baia Mare, Romania and other flyers and informational packages from Information on the Hortobagy Marsh found in and Facts on Cyanide can be found on Technical information on the geography of Hungary located at Law suite information found on web sight

35 Pictorial Bibliography
Pictures of Hungary on pages 1-6 Picture of Indiana page 3 from Picture on Page 8 from Picture of Danube river from page 10 located at LC_River_Cruise_Danube Page 11,17,23,25,26,29,and 30 pictures come from Page 13 picture is from Picture on page 16 Picture on page 17 came from

36 Pictorial Bibliography Continued
Page pictures from Picture from Page 22 Page pictures come from Pictures on page 30 found on Picture on page 31

37 Power Point Created by Nathan Hamm
UW Eau Claire student Presented in Geography 308 Professor Zoltan Grossmann Class: Geography of Russia and Eastern Europe Semester Spring 2005

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