June 28, 2021

Residents with health issues have been cautioned about the dangers of the Taal volcanic haze

On Monday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) issued a warning to people in the vicinity of Taal Lake to take appropriate measures if the presence of volcanic smog (vog) above the crater of Taal Volcano persists.

Volcanic ash (vog) is a kind of air pollution that is produced by volcanoes.

As Phivolcs explained in an advisory, “it is composed of fine droplets containing volcanic gas such as SO2 (sulfur dioxide), which is acidic in nature and can cause irritation of the eyes, throat, and respiratory tract in varying degrees of severity depending on the gas concentrations and exposure durations.”

According to the agency, individuals suffering from chronic health problems like as asthma, lung illness, and heart disease, as well as the elderly, pregnant women, and children, are more vulnerable to the negative impacts of vog pollution.

It is believed that vog presents a health risk by exacerbating underlying respiratory illnesses, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas has the potential to irritate the skin, eyes, nose, and throat when breathed in. Furthermore, the aerosol particles in vog have the potential to enter the lungs and trigger the symptoms of asthma in certain people.

Breathing difficulties, headaches, watery eyes, sore throat, flu-like symptoms, and increased susceptibility to respiratory illnesses are just a few of the problems linked with vog exposure, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Phivolcs recommended that people remain inside, use a N95 mask, and drink plenty of water.

This was due to the continuing SO2 production from Taal’s main crater, which caused the vog. Additionally, the atmospheric conditions and near-absence of air movement were to blame for this occurrence.

The SO2 emissions and steam-rich plumes that have been rising over the last two days have reached heights of up to three kilometers.

On June 27, the average SO2 flow was 4,771 tons per day, according to the EPA.

According to the warning, “atmospheric temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius, relative humidity of 75 percent, and wind speeds that ranged between 1 and 0 meters per second at near-surface levels prevailed over Taal Volcano Island.”

Taal Volcano has been on alert level 2 (increasing unrest) since March 9, according to the Philippine Volcano Observatory.

This means that sudden steam- or gas-driven explosions, volcanic earthquakes, minor ashfall, and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur and threaten areas within and around the Taal Volcano Island (TVI).

Entry within TVI, which is considered to be Taal’s permanent danger zone, must be severely forbidden.

When it comes to the possibility of fresh disturbance, Phivolcs has urged local government authorities to evaluate and improve the readiness of previously evacuated barangays in and around Taal Lake on a continual basis.

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