Conrad Mupesa Mashonaland West Bureau
A TRUCK laden with 42 000 litres of petrol bound for Zambia overturned along the Harare-Chirundu Highway on Wednesday evening, contaminating at least 250 square metres of land.
The incident occurred at Hilltop, Moi area, in Hurungwe district around 7pm. Fortunately, there was no fire, which could have devoured large tracts of forest and potentially killing people and livestock. Environmental Management Agency’s provincial education and publicity officer, Mr Munyaradzi Nhariswa, said EMA was working with the transporter identified as Gilbro, to rehabilitate the area.
“Section 73 of the Environmental Management Act prohibits the discharge of hazardous substances into the environment and places the responsibility of rehabilitating and restoring the affected area on the polluter.
“The company has since engaged a private company to do the clean-up which is already underway,” he said.
Much of the fuel was looted by community members and artisanal miners from surrounding areas.
But Mr Nhariswa advised citizens to move away from a spillage site and not to attempt to draw the spilled substances that can be dangerous. There have been cases in Zimbabwe and other countries of salvers incinerated when a fire breaks out at a fuel spill.
“In the case of fuel, it is highly flammable and may explode,” said Mr Nhariswa.
“He said communities should take heed of instructions given by the truck driver, EMA or law enforcement agencies to protect their lives.
Transporters were encouraged to orally notify EMA, police, the Department of Civil Protection, Emergency Response Company, and the District Development Co-ordinator’s office.
Those ferrying hazardous substances were also encouraged to adhere to the stipulated travelling times of 4am to 8pm.