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Toxi-Coop Zrt.

 Throughout the development of civilization technology’s share in satisfying human needs beyond everyday life has become bigger and bigger.Machine-human relation is getting more and more complicated, actually consisting of processes which are not transparent any more, and the way we are trying to sort out the problem is by installing more machines.

Human presence
, though, is still a source of error, and even the seemingly most insignificant mistake may end up in catastrophies.

Therefore in case of such events it is vital to look at and evaluate the past, sum up what we have learnt and have feedback on the starting point of processes – to be able to prevent the catastrophy from happening again.

Several organizations have contributed to the restoration works since the red mud disaster at Devecser in October 2010. Each participating group has accumulated experience and knowledge, but only in its own segment of the restoration works. There has not been any possibility to summarize the experiences so far, to communicate directly among the organizations which helped.

To be able to accomplish this objective we have organized an international, English-Hungarian conference and exhibition, within the framework of the Mecenatura tender announced by the National Innovation Office (NIH) with the title of ’Development of European Union public administrative procedures for the reduction and management of environmental hazard’ (tender ID: OKOPKONF) held on May 23-25, 2011 in Budapest, Veszprém and Szekszárd. It lasted 3 days – relatively a lot of time without limits – because we wanted to facilitate communication among the participants.

We intended to sum up the above mentioned experience and knowledge at the conference in order to share and evaluate them with the Hungarian and international professional and social groups, so we invited the widest possible group of stakeholders.

Among the almost two hundred Hungarian and one hundred foreign lecturers and participants there were representatives of ministries, official bodies – the police, the national defence, institutions of higher education, the media, researchers, technology developers and those involved in the economic sector.

The operative organizational tasks were done by the ECOPolis Cluster, supported by the National Directorate General for Disaster Management of the Hungarian Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the University of Pannonia, the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, the Hungarian Academy of SciencesVeszprém Town of County Rank and the Municipality of Veszprém.

The patrons of the conference were Dr. Tibor Navracsics, Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Public Administration and Justice andDr. György Bakondi, National Director General of the National Directorate General for Disaster Management.

In terms of conference topics the red mud disaster was revealed on a very wide range of viewpoints.

All together there were nearly 40 presentations demonstrating the Hungarian administrative procedures in connection with disaster relief, the antecedents and aftermath of the disaster in the region of Devecser and Kolontár, the national collaboration, the work done by state institutions, the research and the technological developments in realation to the disaster.

The first two days of the conference, May 23-24, 2011, were held at the Mercure Budapest Buda hotel in Budapest. On behalf of the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice, Farkas Krisztina, Deputy State Secretary opened the event.

The following participants led plenary sessions in the mornings and section presentations in the afternoons about the relief work: the delegates of the Hungarians and foreign ministries, the police, the national defence, professors from higher educational institutions such as the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, the Zrínyi Miklós National Defence University, the Károly Róbert College, theUniversity of Szeged and the York University in Canada.

From the media section the Hungarian Pannon Lapok Társasága and the British Times magazine were represented among others. At last but not least Hungarian and foreign lecturers of technological developments were present, too.

On the morning of the third day, May 25, 2011 – based on previous registrations – the participants could visit Devecser and Kolontár, thewestern ruptured dam of cassette X of the sludge reservoir, its surroundings, the demolition and rebuilding areas and an almost completely finished sample house. As an optional program they could go on the IRIS field trip in Szekszárd, organized by the National Directorate General for Disaster Management.

In the afternoon the conference continued at the University of Pannonia. It was opened with a welcome address by Dr. Zsolt Horváth, Member of Parliament and then followed by a presentation by Prof. Dr. Ákos Rédey, Rector of the University of Pannonia, in which he talked about therole of the university in damage elimination after the disaster.

The following presentations were given by professors of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Károly Róbert College, the University of Miskolc, the head of Bálint Analitika Ltd. and the OM Voluntary Crisis Response Team who gave lectures on further technological researches, examples for social collaboration, handling the social effects of the disaster and recommendations for utilization of the red sludge. The conference was closed by András Farkas, president of the ECOPolis Cluster.

Evaluating all that have been heard at the conference it can be ascertained that wide social cooperation was carried out after the disaster withmostly voluntary contributions of the authorities, the non-governmental, social and economic organizations and the academic sphere.

As a result, with the extensive and professional relief management of the state the social and environmental damages of the red sludge disaster could befended off in a record time.

All these results were made public for both the domestic and international audiences within the framework of the conference as well as inrelated newsletters.

After the conference a homepage was created with the intention of making the lectures and professional voices accessible and public. The contents are basically professional preceded by the lecturers’ many years of experience. It was them who helped our work greatly and contributed to the ultimate success of the conference.