Hungary Mátra Power Plant
Photo:átrai Erőmű Zrt.

Locals blame the starch factory recently built by PM Viktor Orbán’s friend, Lőrinc Mészáros, for the toxic gases released near the Mátra Power Plant because of which many workers fell ill weeks ago, and the air is almost unbearable in the neighbourhood even today. Authorities say that there is nothing to worry about, but locals do not believe them.

The source of the toxic gases released – hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen monoxide, and phosphine – is the nearby technological water in the Őzse Valley water reservoir. However, such a problem has not been detected in the last half-century of the thermal power plant’s operation. But, in February 2019, a huge wheat processor and a starch factory were built next to the power plant (able to process 250 tons of wheat annually).

Both companies are owned by the Hungarian PM’s close friend,

the Hungarian entrepreneur whose wealth is increasing quicker than Mark Zuckerberg’s, Lőrinc Mészáros, Index and Atlatszo reported.

The starch factory is pouring its treated industrial wastewater containing large amounts of organic matter into the water reservoir of the Őzse Valley from where the power plant takes the technical water it uses, according to what locals say. Several weeks ago, a lot of the power plant’s workers became ill. They were complaining about respiratory problems, diarrhoea, eye irritation, headaches, nausea, and, interestingly, discolouration of their metal objects. The power plant’s gas analyzers detected dangerous concentrations of hydrogen sulfide and nitrogen monoxide while the Heves County Disaster Management Authority’s mobile laboratory identified phosphine contamination as well.

One of the opposition MPs, János Stummer (Jobbik), posted the following video on Facebook yesterday:

Így folyik Mészáros gabonafeldolgozója felől a bűzös kékesszürke víz a Mátrai Hőerőmű háta mögött abba a víztározóba, ahonnan a víz először az erőműbe, utána a Bene-patakba, aztán a Tarnába, majd a Zagyvába, végül a Tiszába kerül.Szörnyű érzés volt ma látni, hogyan hazardíroznak a gyerekeink jövőjével.

Zveřejnil(a) Stummer János dne Středa 27. listopadu 2019

Even so, the Heves County Disaster Management Authority said that the gas leaking from the technological water was not dangerous to humans. However, the contrary is true because they can cause even death in high concentration. The power plant acknowledged this by saying in an internal announcement that

all workers should be given protective equipment to protect their health.

This is not the first time that there are problems around the factory and the power plant. In July, heavy pollution and fishkill occurred in the nearby Bene stream and on the Tarna river. The reason was probably a large amount of organic matter that was leaked into the streams and caused oxygen deficiency.

This was how the area looked yesterday:

Éppen hazafelé tartok, de amit ma láttam, egyhamar nem felejtem. A két szememmel láttam ma holdbéli tájat, bűzlő…

Zveřejnil(a) Stummer János dne Středa 27. listopadu 2019

Greenpeace took samples from the waters near the power plant and tested it in the accredited lab of Wessling. Based on the results announced yesterday, it can be said that the water circulating in the nearby streams is in the wastewater category not only because of its organic matter content but also because of the amount of molybdenum found in it.

It is still unknown what the reasons behind the pollution were and what exactly caused the leak of toxic gases. And, of course, nobody knows who is responsible for the events.


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