BY NHAU MANGIRAZI
THE Environmental Management Agency (Ema) says there has been a sulphur spillage along the Harare-Chirundu Highway, close to Tsetse checkpoint in Mashonaland West province.
In a statement, Ema provincial spokesperson Munyaradzi Nhariswa said no fatalities related to the spillage had been recorded.
“The truck was carrying 35 tonnes of sulphur and all the sulphur spilled into the environment and no fatality was recorded,” Nhariswa said.
He said a fire broke out after the spillage, engulfing the whole area, with plumes seen from as far away as Chirundu Border Post.
“The Ema is working closely with the transporter (Top Hisheen) to extinguish the fire and commence the spillage clean-up exercise. 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.”
EMA said preliminary investigations indicated that the truck was travelling outside the stipulated timeframes, and failed to report the incident as required by the law.
“Transporters and the motoring public are, therefore, being continuously urged to … orally notify the following institutions within an hour and in writing within 24 hours of the accidental spillage,” Ema added.
According to Ema regulations, transporters of hazardous substances should adhere to the stipulated travelling times of between 4am and 8pm.
According to the Hazardous Substance Fact Sheet: “Burning sulphur will flow and emit large quantities of sulphur dioxide (SO2), a toxic, irritating (of the nose, eyes and throat) and suffocating gas that can cause severe lung damage and death.”