© Balint Porneczi, Oct. 9, 2010, Devecser, Hungary

An image of Jesus Christ, partly covered by red mud, in a house in Devecser, Hungary.

On Oct. 4, 2010, the retaining wall of a caustic waste reservoir at the Ajka alumina plant near Kolontar, Hungary, collapsed, releasing more than one million cubic meters (38 million cubic feet) of highly alkaline red sludge. The thick wave of waste material flooded several nearby villages, killing 10 people, injuring more than 120, and leaving many with chemical burns on their skin. The sludge eventually found its way into local rivers, killing many animals. Today, monitoring shows lower toxicity than many had feared, but the levels are still dangerous.