Hungary and the tizsa river
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Hungary and the Tizsa River. By Nathan Hamm. Hungary. Republic of Hungary Since 1989 Total area 93,030 sq km Total area with water 960 sq km Comparative size Indiana. Hungary vs. Indiana. The People. Population 10,032,375 Came from a lineage called Magyar .

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Hungary l.jpg

  • Republic of Hungary Since 1989

  • Total area 93,030 sq km

  • Total area with water 960 sq km

  • Comparative size Indiana

The people l.jpg
The People

  • Population 10,032,375

  • Came from a lineage called Magyar

Hungary was a major part the austro hungarian empire l.jpg
Hungary was a major partthe 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.

Limited resources l.jpg
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

Land and water preservation l.jpg
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.

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Life blood

  • Rivers have historically been a life blood to the land.

  • Important part of culture.

Industry l.jpg

  • 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.

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Troubled Waters

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

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  • City Baia Mare.

  • Mining facility called Aurul SA

  • Australian company “Esmeralda Exploration Limited”.

  • Romanian government has part ownership.

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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.

Factors l.jpg

  • Day of January 30, 2000

  • Snow thaw and heavy rains.

  • Human error.

  • Earthen dam breaks.

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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.

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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.

Slide17 l.jpg

Cyanide testing sites l.jpg
Cyanide testing sites 60 times acceptable levels.

Results 1 4 l.jpg
Results 1-4 60 times acceptable levels.

Results 5 7 l.jpg
Results 5-7 60 times acceptable levels.

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What is Cyanide? 60 times acceptable levels.

  • 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.

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Effects of Cyanide 60 times acceptable levels.

  • Cyanide blocks ingestion of oxygen by cells.

  • Long term exposure causes convulsions and eventually death.

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Levels 60 times acceptable 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

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Aquatic Life 60 times acceptable levels.

  • Fish are almost one thousand times more sensitive to cyanide then humans are.

  • Even from minimal exposure they suffer severely.

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Saving Grace? 60 times acceptable levels.

  • Cyanide does decompose in sunlight.

  • There is some cyanide in nature b12 vitamin rich food have some in them.

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Heavy Metals 60 times acceptable levels.

  • Do not break down and are “bio-accumulative”

  • Creates long-term effects.

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Specific Heavy Metals 60 times acceptable levels.

  • Lead delays normal growth and increases blood pressure.

  • Copper causes intestinal distress, and liver damage.

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River Wasteland 60 times acceptable levels.

  • 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.

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More then just the river 60 times acceptable levels.

  • 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.

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Government Response 60 times acceptable levels.

  • 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.

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Esmeralda Exploration Limited 60 times acceptable levels.

  • The spill cost it 350,000 dollars per week in lost revenue.

  • In June,the government of Hungary filed a $110 million lawsuit againstAustralian-based Esmeralda Explorations, Ltd.

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No End in Sights 60 times acceptable levels.

  • 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

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Bibliography of Information 60 times acceptable levels.

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

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Pictures of Hungary on pages 1-6 60 times acceptable levels.

Picture of Indiana page 3 from

Picture on Page 8 from

Picture of Danube river from page 10 located 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

Pictorial Bibliography

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Pictorial Bibliography Continued 60 times acceptable levels.

  • Page 19-21 pictures from

  • Picture from Page 22

  • Page 27-28 pictures come from

  • Pictures on page 30 found on

  • Picture on page 31

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Power Point Created by 60 times acceptable levels. Nathan Hamm

  • UW Eau Claire student

  • E-mail:

  • Presented in Geography 308

  • Professor Zoltan Grossmann

  • Class: Geography of Russia and Eastern Europe

  • Semester Spring 2005