Hazardous substance spillage contaminates Murare River: EMA warns

-The clean-up of the spillage is ongoing to stop further contamination of water downstream and the rest of the affected environs, EMA assured.

John Cassim

Harare, Zimbabwe (CZ) – The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has warned that 30 tonnes of a mixed load of hazardous substances spilled following a truck accident along the Mutare – Masvingo highway thereby contaminating part of Murare River.

The contaminated river has a slight base flow although fish deaths have since been recorded in the same river.

The tanker belonging to Nzibar Investments carrying hazardous chemicals including creosote was involved in an accident at the 80km peg along the Mutare-Masvingo highway after Chakohwa Business Centre, on August 22. The tanker was coming from South Africa.

“The Agency would however like to assure the Public that the Clean-up of the spillage is ongoing to stop further contamination of water downstream and the rest of the affected environs,” Amkela Sidange, EMA spokesperson said.

Statutory Instrument 268 of 2018(Environmental Management (Control of Hazardous Substances) (General) Regulations, Section 26(1), stipulates that in the event of any accidental discharge of hazardous substances, from the generation plant, point of use, storage facility, or transportation vessel, the owner or any person in control of the hazardous substance shall within one hour, orally notify the Agency, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Civil Protection Unit and District Development Coordinator(DDC) in the area where the accidental discharge occurred, and in writing within 24 hours of the accidental discharge.

Meanwhile, EMA has warned members of the public to be cautious and avoid attempting to draw spilled substances.

In most cases spilled substances are very dangerous and in the event of fuel, it is highly flammable and may explode.

“Members of the public are urged to move away from the accident scene, take heed of the instructions given by EMA inspectors on site and any other office of authority, and prioritize public safety and environmental protection above anything else,” Amkela added.

Creosote is a probable carcinogen in humans as evidence has shown that it can cause skin cancer in humans as it has shown to cause cancer in animals.

The substance is normally used as an active ingredient to protect wood used outdoors against termites, fungi, mites, and other pests.

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