Greenpeace says that leaking, rusted barrels full of toxic materials stored in the open at a defunct chemicals company in Hungary could cause an environmental catastrophe. The government says it will take months before the chemicals are removed and the area can be cleaned up.

Gergely Simon, a Greenpeace chemicals expert, said the situation at the site of the Budapest Chemical Works is "near catastrophic," with toxic materials like benzene seeping into the ground water as far as 60 meters below the surface and at concentrations up to 100,000 times the allowed limits.

Zsolt V. Nemeth, state secretary for environmental protection and agricultural development, said that while disaster management officials have declared that there is no "direct catastrophe situation," environmental authorities are urging immediate action.