The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has warned of a ‘hazardous substance spillage’ at Hilltop, Moi area, Hurungwe, Mashonaland West along the Harare – Chirundu Highway on Friday.
The agency said the fuel was looted by communities and artisanal miners surrounding the area. In a notice, EMA said:
The spillage involved a Gilbro haulage truck carrying 42 000 litres of petrol resulting in the discharge of approximately 40 000 litres into the environment. Fortunately, there was no fire incident. However, an area of about 250m2 was affected.
This was extremely dangerous.
The EMA is working closely with the Transporter (Gilbro) to rehabilitate the area. Section 73 of the Environmental Management Act (Cap 20:27) 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.
Most of the previously reported spillages of hazardous substances recorded during transportation have been linked to travelling outside regulated time frames and the use of improper packaging and containers.
EMA says most of the offenders have been found to be illegally transporting these substances without a license from the agency during odd hours.
Extreme urges extreme caution in the storage of hazardous substances as there has been a loss of lives in some incidents where there was spillage.