By Zumani Katasefa in Kitwe
A tanker carrying undisclosed litres of acid overturned along Sabina-Mufulira road on Sunday, spilling the acid into the Tukula Mutima stream which feeds into the Kafue River, the main source of water for Copperbelt Province residents.
An eye witness, Peter Mumba, who is also a supervisor at Musonda Farms situated near the scene of the accident, narrated that minutes after the tanker, which was coming from Mopani Copper Mines plant in Mufulira overturned, the acid spilled into the stream, killing fish and burning aquatic plants.
“People rushed to the accident scene and they picked up fish which died as a result of the acid spillage. But I went round to announce to people in the nearby places not to eat the fish because it was poisonous,” he said.
Mumba said a few hours later, officials from Mopani Copper Mines also took some preventive measures.
“Mopani has provided about 70 bags of lime to neutralise the acid in the river so that it cannot spread further. Yesterday (Sunday) the PH scale was 1.5, but today it has stabilised, Mopani is constantly checking,” said Mumba. “Yesterday the water was too dark but today (Monday) the colour has improved.”
Mufulira district commissioner Dyford Mulwa also confirmed the accident and said relevant authorities were on the ground, doing everything possible to safeguard human lives.
He said people living near the river were warned not catch fish or drink water from that stream after the incident happened.
Mulwa attributed the accident to the bad state of the Mufulira-Sabina road, which he said should be worked on urgently, adding that the state of the road had been a major source of concern among many residents in the area.
And Mulonga Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC) managing director Manuel Mutale said the acid spillage would not affect the company’s operations, saying the spillage happened away from where they drew water.
“The spillage will not affect our operations, we tap our water from upstream. Even if it happened, we are not going to be affected because in the rainy season a lot of effluent are diluted naturally,” said Mutale.