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PLANET NEWS

Hungary has a growing environmental catastrophe on it’s hands as toxic sludge from the burst resevoir owned by the Hungarian Aluminium Production and Trading Company (MAL)  and spilled onto over 40 square kilometres of land. The spill forced the evacutaion of thousands of residents  in seven towns and villages, injured hundreds, killed at least seven and has threatened to pollute the Danube as the sludge works its way through the river system – and now the food chain. Whilst dams have slowed the flow to the Danube,  the drying red sludge is also being seen as a real risk of airbourne ‘heavy metal dust’  toxic pollution with Hungary’s environment minister Zoltan Iles saying that the effluent could be carcinogenic and that it could pose a threat to water supplies.  MAL have offered compensation of up to 100,000 forints per affected Family (about £300) up to a total of 30 million forints, widly derided as derisory, saying it could set up a compensation fund of E200,000 if it was allowed to re-start production. Hungarian Prime minister Viktor Orban has warned that a second breach of the dam’s retaining wall may occur allowing the remianing 500 million litres of more concentrated toxic waste to enter the waterways. he has promised “the toughest possible” consequences for those resonsible. The sheer volume of water in the Danube seems to be effectively neutralising the waste at the moment but down river in Romania the authoritoes are testing the water and have warned humans not to drink it and prevent animals from drinking from the river.

Well done to University of Gloucestershire students for setting up a new ‘grown your own’ society. The Allotment Socity, headed up by 20 year old events management student Jordan Hassell,  now seems to have some really enthusiastic support from other students and has its own 25 square metre  ‘secret garden’ with its own aged greenhouse and coldframes at the University, near halls of residence. DIY store Homebase are sponsoring this and similar student union schemes under the banner of ‘Fresher Freshers’ at the University of Kent, Royal Hollway College, University of Bristol,  Liverpool Guild of Students, Leeds University and the University of Bradford.

Not so good news – UK Environment Secretary Chris Huhne has gone back on a promise made by Prime Minister David Cameron that early adopters of solar panels will get the enhanced rate of 41.3p per unit of electricity sold to the National Grid which was introduced in July 2009 for new entrants to solar power. The change won’t be restrospective so early adopters who put up panels before 15th July 2009 will get just 9p per unit.  

Portable toilet supplier Andyloos have won the British Toilet Association’s award for efficiency improvement for their PolyVac portable toilet – which has a chemical free flushing system which uses just 0.5 Litres of water per flush. Way to Go!

Senior tory politician Tim Yeo has called on the UK Government to increase green funding saying that reducing spending on low carbon technology was like “cutting the budget for Spitfires in 1939”. Yeo chairs Parliament’s cross-party environment committee. Green initiatuves at risk include funding for windfarms, the scrapping of the Energy Saving Trust and the Carbon Trust, funding for clean coal technology will be scrapped or delayed and funding for feed in tariffs and renewabl heat incentives will be reduced.