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Smog from the Taal Volcano blankets Metro Manila

/ 09:19 PM June 28, 2021
Smog from the Taal Volcano blankets Metro Manila

FILE PHOTO/LYN RILLON

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Monday said that Taal Volcano’s steady emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) caused volcanic smog in Metro Manila.

In its Taal advisory, Phivolcs explained that volcanic smog, also called “vog,” comes from volcanic activity.

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It consists of volcanic gas, such as acidic SO2, in the form of droplets and can be irritating to the eyes, throat, and respiratory tract, depending on its concentration and inhalation duration.

Vog is particularly harmful to the elderly, pregnant women, children and people with health conditions such as asthma, lung disease and heart disease.

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Phivolcs said that the vog resulted from volcanic SO2 gas, combined with a relative humidity of 75 percent and slow wind speeds (only 1 meter per second to almost a halt.)

As of June 27, SO2 emissions were at 4,771 tons per day. Comparatively, the entire Taal Volcano Island has an average air temperature of 30 degrees celsius.

“Ang mga ganitong kondisyon, lalo na ang halos kawalan ng pag-ihip ng hangin, ay nagdulot sa pamumuo ng volcanic smog o vog na nagresulta naman sa kapansin-pansin na haze sa Taal Caldera region,” warned Phivolcs.

( Such conditions, especially the almost absence of wind, have led to volcanic smog or vog formation, resulting in noticeable haze in the Taal Caldera region.)

“Kung sakaling magpapatuloy ang mataas na pagbuga ng SO2 gas at mananatili ang mga kondisyon na angkop sa pagkakaroon ng vog, ang mga komunidad sa palibot ng Taal Lake ay pinapayuhan na gumawa ng kinakailangang pag-iingat” it added.

(If high SO2 gas emissions continue and conditions that can lead to the presence of vog remain, communities around Taal Lake are advised to take the necessary steps and practice caution.)

During a vog and whenever exposure to it is unavoidable, Phivolcs reminded the public of the following:

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1. Limit exposure to vog. Avoid outdoor activities or just stay indoors and close windows and doors to prevent vog from entering the house.

2. Protect yourself. Use appropriate N95 face masks or gas masks. Drink plenty of water to relieve irritation or congestion of the airways. If you belong to a sensitive group, be sure to monitor your condition and see a doctor or barangay health unit immediately if necessary. If you experience severe side effects, see a doctor or the barangay health unit immediately.

Alert Level 2 is currently elevated on Taal Volcano. Meaning, sudden steam-driven or gas-driven eruption and dangerous accumulation or emission of volcanic gas could suddenly occur.

“Phivolcs closely monitors the condition of Taal Volcano, 24/7 and is ready to immediately notify any changes to all concerned,” Phivolcs said.

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