MWENEZI - Sable Chemical Industries Limited has embarked on a sensitisation programme to enlighten communities along the Beitbridge - Rutenga and Zvishavane - Gweru railway line about the dangers of ammonia which is transported along the route from South Africa.
The sensitisation started on September 26 in Beitbridge was initiated by Sable Chemicals in conjunction with the National Railways Zimbabwe (NRZ) and the district's Civil Protection Unit (CPU).
Community members were taught safety measures to undertake in the event that a tanker of ammonia derailed.
Addressing residents and pupils from surrounding schools who gathered at Rutenga last Wednesday, Sable Chemicals service engineer Arthur Manuel said the company had all the essential safety precautions in place, yet it was still necessary to give people tips on how to behave in the event of a derailment.
"Our tankers of ammonia are painted white and are clearly labelled. Though we do our part to make sure they are secure, ammonia can flow for a distance of two kilometres before rising and turning into gas if there is an accident.
"Ammonia is very dangerous to both animals and human beings. It burns and can cause severe breathing difficulties. In case of an accident, you should avoid moving below the wind and you should immediately close your mouth and nose with a wet cloth to avoid breathing the gas," said Manuel.
Villagers often rush to accident scenes to check if there is something to loot but such behaviour was discouraged as is inherent with risks especially when the accident involves a locomotive carrying poisonous substances.health