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Clearance of cobalt-oxide spillage underway

SORRY SIGHT: Cobalt spillage near Dukwi

Owners of a truck that overturned and spilled cobalt oxide along the A3 road last Wednesday arrived in the country from South Africa last week to clear the trailers and bags of the toxic substance.

Thereafter the Environmental Department will get to work on safely clearing any spillage at the scene.

A truck trailer loaded with 68 bags of cobalt oxide overturned along the road last Wednesday evening, the driver losing control after a burst tire caused the wheels to jam.

The truck had been making its way from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to South Africa when it drove into trouble between Dukwi and Mosetse villages.

Speaking to The Voice, Dukwi police Station Commander- Assistant Superintendent Azhani Mukokomani, revealed the driver – a Zambian national – reported the matter to his station at around 1830hrs.

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“The 46-year-old said as he was driving, one of the back wheels popped causing them to jam. He tried to continue driving but lost control. A link between the two trailers then snapped, causing one to overturn, spilling its contents onto the road,” explained Mukokomani, further adding: “Cobalt-oxide is dangerous to both humans and livestock if they come into contact with it.”

Cobalt oxide is an inorganic compound described as an olive-green or grey solid.

It is used extensively in the ceramics industry as an additive to create blue colored glazes and enamels as well as in the chemical industry for producing cobalt salts.

It can accumulate to toxic levels in the liver, kidney, pancreas, and heart, as well as the skeleton and skeletal muscle. Cobalt has been found to produce tumors in animals and can likely lead to cancer in humans as well.

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