Air quality around Mayon still ‘good,’ says EMB
LEGAZPI CITY, Albay, Philippines — Residents in communities around the restive Mt. Mayon in Albay province need not worry about the air quality in their areas as environment officials assured them that it is still at a “good level” despite the volcano spewing lava and gases for more than two weeks now.
In an online chat message on Wednesday, Maria Socorro Abu, Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) regional director in Bicol, said their monitoring showed that air quality in these areas was considered “satisfactory,” noting that air pollution poses little or no risk to residents.
In a report on Tuesday night, the EMB said there was a “[consistently] good level of ambient air quality” based on the collected samples from the monitoring stations in the cities of Legazpi, Tabaco and Ligao and Guinobatan town, as measured by particulate matter (PM) 10 (coarse or bigger particles, including types of dust).
“The dispersion of the plume of the volcano is high, so the PM 10 and the gases have the potential to suspend in the upper air. Our stations are located on the ground level,” Abu said.
The EMB started its monitoring of PM 10 and sulfur dioxide present in the air on June 9, a day after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised Mayon’s alert level to 3.
Ma. Antonia “Mariton” Bornas, chief of the Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division of Phivolcs, said the small volume of pyroclastic density currents (PDCs), a fast-moving avalanche of volcanic ash, rock and gases, was only confined to the gullies and near the crater and did not reach populated villages around the volcano.
“The ashfall from PDCs is deposited at the upper half of the volcano and not actually directed to the communities, although the big PDCs on June 16 brought thin ashfall to [areas in] Guinobatan and Ligao City,” Bornas said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
Bornas said plumes, which sometimes turn brown, are also caused by PDCs that create ash clouds composed of fine ashes.
In its Wednesday bulletin, Phivolcs said lava flow advanced to 2.5 kilometers along Mi-isi gully in Daraga and 1.8 km along Bonga gully in Legazpi City, and had not breached the 6-km permanent danger zone.