Page last updated at 15:15 GMT, Monday, 11 April 2011 16:15 UK

Wimbledon High investigate 'red sludge'

Teenagers in Hungary answered the School Reporters questions
Teenagers in Hungary answered the School Reporters questions

School Reporters from Wimbledon linked up with students in Hungary where, in October, a toxic spill of red sludge cascaded through dozens of villages, killing ten and injuring scores.

Here students from both nations give their reflections of the conversation.

By Sonia
From Wimbledon High School, London

On Friday 18 March, my classmates Anya, Ilya, Caroline and I left school at lunch-time, buzzing with excitement at the thought of going to the BBC's TV Centre to record a interview with some teenagers in Hungary who had been affected by the terrible red sludge.

The catastrophe, which happened on 4 October, at an industrial plant in Hungary, involved a spillage of what has become known as "red sludge" due to its muddy, red, thick texture.

This sludge was very toxic as it had high levels of alkaline with a pH of 9, which can damage lungs and the digestive systems if swallowed, and could be strong enough to burn people. It is said that 120 people were receiving treatment for burns.

Aerial view of red sludge
Toxic red sludge spilt from a factory in Hungary
'Saddened'

Obviously, this disaster had a massive impact on the people living there. When we found out what was going on, we were very shocked because this was a very sad thing to have happened, especially as wildlife in the rivers died from the toxic sludge.

We were thrilled at the prospect of being able to talk to the teenagers directly and find out about their experiences and that our interview would be broadcast in the UK and in Hungary.

Firstly, we took a little tour with Erika who was our BBC guide and organiser, and we were shown where the live broadcasts would come from, including the gallery.

As I had been to the BBC's TV Centre before, I knew that it was an absolutely enormous place but, yet again, I was amazed at just how big it was.

Calling Hungary

Wimbledon High School pupils  in a radio studio
Wimbledon High School pupils spoke to teenagers in Hungary
After the tour, we went into a little recording studio which had a round table complete with computers and big microphones and headphones.

Excitement charged through the air as we started the interview.

After being introduced to our four interviewees, we began asking questions. We soon realised that their English was very good.

After doing the interview, we talked a bit more about ourselves and I got to shoot part of an introduction to School Report for the BBC website.

We came back to school feeling exhausted but happy about our amazing experience.


By Dorcsi
In Hungary

Students at a radio station in Hungary
Despite her nerves, Dorcsi (right), spoke for an hour
It was Friday that day. School finished at 1235 and I went to the canteen. I was already very excited about the BBC conversation in the afternoon.

But when I arrived at the studio of Best Radio in Ajka, I didn't feel as nervous as before.

We took our places in the studio and Balint, the owner of Best Radio, explained to us what to do, I mean, how the headsets and microphones work or how to start this "transcontinental" conversation.

Then we heard some noise from the headphones and we started talking to each other. Girls from London, Anya, Caroline, Ilya and Sonia, were very kind to us and we could talk to them about everything we wanted.

Bring back memories?

At the beginning of the conversation, we answered the girls' questions in connection with the red sludge disaster which happened on 4 October.

First, I thought that it would be unsettling to speak about this event again and it would bring back my memories of the catastrophe and I wouldn't be able to stay calm and not think about the terrible occurrences.

But when we were talking for an hour, I realised that it was the opposite of what I expected. I felt very well during the chatting and it was useful and soothing to share my thoughts and feelings with people from another section of the world.

So it was a nice experience that I will remember for a long time.




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