The Zambia Environmental Agency (ZEMA) and Water Resource Management Authority (WARMA) are leading a joint investigation of suspected pollution of the Mkushi River. It runs through Central Province’s large tracts of agriculture land.
A fuel tanker carrying 35,000 liters of fuel overturned near the river, which also serves as the main source of water for the local population.
“As you may know this is an area full of livestock and crops. And people also depend on the water from this river. Therefore, any pollution that may have happened could lead to loss of lives, crops and livestock,” said Chanda Kabwe, permanent secretary for Central Province.
Kabwe said police were deployed at the scene to prevent onlookers from trampling the scene after word spread about the accident.
According to Water Development permanent secretary Edward Chomba, the fuel spillage is reportedly seeping into a stream which leads to Mkushi River.
“We already have inspectors from ZEMA and WARMA assessing the situation,” Chomba said.
Sources close to the investigation told africanfarming.com they had good predictability of the river currents, making it easier to forecast which way the fuel will move.