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Tuesday, 28 March, 2000, 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK
Pollution turns Tisza black

The authorities in Ukraine have expressed concern about another spillage of contaminated sludge into the River Tisza, which they say has turned the water black.

The river flows from Romania into Ukraine and Hungary, and was the site of an environmental catastrophe two months ago following a cyanide spill in the area.

Romanian officials say that the latest incident happened when heavy rain washed away part of a dam, allowing water contaminated with lead to flow into the river at a rate of about fifty litres per second.

The Romanian environment ministry said the amount of lead in the Tisza river is double the safe level. A ministry spokesman blamed the mine operators for not mending the wall properly after an earlier leak.

A World Bank delegation is in Romania at present to assess how to support the country's efforts to deal with industrial polluters.

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