When a fuel tanker driver’s vehicle crashed near the Mzilikazi Barracks in Bulawayo, spewing more than 20,000 litres of gasoline, the Bulawayo-Harare highway was shut down for hours while emergency services tried to contain the potentially fatal catastrophe.
Firefighters from Bulawayo bravely battled to save the tanker from setting fire, which would have been disastrous.
Traffic was redirected, but it was difficult for police to control drivers who still wanted to approach the accident scene.
The truck was carrying 40 000 litres of petrol, according to Mr Frederick Maponga, an Environmental Management Agency Environmental Quality Officer who was on the scene.
“We received a phone call at around 7pm and we rushed to the scene where we noted the tanker had overturned with the fire department at the scene. So far about 20 000 litres of fuel spilt to the environment although we are yet to conduct full investigations as to the cause and how much was spilt. Petrol causes loss of bio-diversity in the soil which means it kills all the living organisms and plants in the environment,” he said.
Mr Maponga urged drivers transporting hazardous material to be cautious on the roads to avoid such disasters.
He warned members of the public and motorists to desist from approaching such scenes as they are extremely dangerous to human life.
“We had police controlling the scene but you find people still wanting to bypass the blockades put to control traffic. An explosion would have had disastrous results,” said Mr Maponga.-State Media