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Toxic Chemical Spillage Endangers Chirundu

Toxic Chemical Spillage Endangers Chirundu

An accident involving a heavy truck carrying a potentially hazardous chemical that occurred along the Chirundu-Harare highway, poses risks to local residents, motorists and the environment.

According to Chirundu local board secretary Wilson Gunhe, the border town has more than 5 000 residents.

Thousands of travellers to and from Zambia also use the highway which passes through the town.

On Tuesday, a Mukumba Brothers truck (registration number J00KLGP/WPL3860GP/WHB980GP) carrying 30 000 litres of beta froth liquid overturned at the 265-kilometre peg along the highway.

This resulted in the spillage of 30 000 litres of the chemical into the environment.

Noone was killed in the accident but the driver was injured and is admitted to Karoi Hospital.

The chemical flowed through the road, creating a slippery surface and contaminating the road verges.

The Environment Management Agency (EMA) provincial education and advocacy officer for Mashonaland West, Munyaradzi Nhariswa, confirmed the development. Said Nhariswa:

Beta froth is a flocculation used mainly in the mining sector in native metals metallurgy.

It is harmful if inhaled, causes respiratory tract irritation and is harmful if absorbed through the skin.

It causes eye irritation, is harmful if swallowed and damage the eyes.

It is toxic to fish and is also 92% ready to biodegrade and affects the vegetation by blocking its stomata.

He added that although the transporter had a valid transportation permit, they failed to notify EMA on time to ensure the swift monitoring and containment of the spillage scene.

Nhariswa said an environmental protection order was served on the transporter to clean the spillage scene to the satisfaction of EMA.

The accident occurred barely three days after another spillage, involving a MAICOs also known as Top Hisheen (registration number JJ35CNGP/JJ34VFGP/JJ34LBGP) truck.

The truck was carrying 35 tonnes of sulphur, which spilt into the environment but no fatality was recorded, according to Nhariswa.

More: The NewsHawks

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