The Zambian side of the Chirundu crossing at the Zambezi River experienced a tanker spill this morning that appeared to involve sulphur leaking out over an area where trucks park at the often-beleaguered border.
Photographs posted on the WhatsApp group of the Transit Assistance Bureau, Transist, clearly show the tanker toppled over with people coming in to scoop up the spill with buckets.
The incident has prompted Transist to raise the alarm about the safety of people in the event of a sulphur spill.
A freight representative familiar with Chirundu and its many challenges said the spill had yet again flagged shortcomings at the border.
“If that is sulphur people should really not be trying to clean it up with buckets.
“There should be proper spill management, a hazardous chemicals team with hazmat (hazardous materials) suits, helmets and gloves who use things like bunding and sawdust to clear up the spill.
“They really should be pumping it out.
“Going in with buckets could prove extremely hazardous to people exposed to a dangerous chemical.”
Since this morning another member of Transist has said the spill could also be cooking oil.
Whatever the case may be, the spill had underpinned the urgency with which long-standing issues at Chirundu ought to be addressed, the representative said.
“The problem with that border is the truck yard is not completely paved. They have made a section at the rear of the yard available for more space but when it rains it gets muddy, with trucks sinking on one side where the terrain is uneven.
“It’s not an ideal situation.”