A fuel tanker driver was killed on the spot when his vehicle toppled near the Mzilikazi Barracks in Bulawayo, spilling over 20,000 gallons of fuel and closing the Bulawayo-Harare highway for hours as emergency services tried to clear a potentially dangerous scenario.
Bulawayo firefighters worked bravely to save the tanker from catching fire, which would have been disastrous.
Police officers who redirected traffic had a difficult time since some cars still wanted to approach the accident site.
Mr Frederick Maponga, an Environment Management Agency Environmental Quality Officer on the scene, claimed the truck was carrying 40 000 gallons of fuel.
“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.