Vog from Taal Volcano prompts class suspensions in Batangas
LUCENA CITY – Taal Volcano’s sudden heavy emission of volcanic sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas on Sunday, Oct. 8, prompted the suspension on Monday of in-person classes in Batangas schools to ensure the safety of students and teachers.
The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council in the Calabarzon region announced the suspension on the Facebook page of the Civil Defense Calabarzon early Monday.
Classes in public and private schools in Angono and Taytay in Rizal province and Tagaytay City, Cavite, were also suspended.
These areas continued to experience “vog” or volcanic smog. The local authorities ordered a temporary shift to online or modular classes.
Evelyn Gonzalez, a resident of Tagaytay City overlooking Taal Volcano, said the vog suddenly enveloped their surroundings on Sunday afternoon.
“Taal Lake and the volcano were covered by thick smog. The smog is irritating to the eyes and throat,” Gonzales said in a phone interview on Sunday.
Vog consists of fine droplets containing volcanic gas, such as SO2, which is acidic and can cause irritation of the eyes, throat, and respiratory tract, with severities depending on the gas concentrations and durations of exposure.
Health authorities warned that people who may be sensitive to vog are those with health conditions such as asthma, lung disease and heart disease, the elderly, pregnant women, and children.
Local officials reminded residents to wear face masks, preferably N95, when going out of the house for protection against SO2 plumes from the volcano.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported that volcanic smog had been affecting the Taal region since the first week of September. An average of 3,402 tons per day of SO2 were degassed from Taal Volcano in September.
Some towns surrounding the volcano reported that some of their students got sick due to vog inhalation.
On Oct. 6, the state volcanologist reported emissions of 6,051 tonnes over the past 24 hours that rose to 900 meters above Taal Volcano Island.
The emissions nearly doubled the recorded figures on Oct. 4, with only 3,465 tonnes of SO2.
However, the emission subsided on Oct. 7 and 8 and recorded 2,887 tonnes and rose to 1,200 and 1,500 meters respectively.
The Phivolcs, in its 5 a.m. bulletin Monday, also recorded emissions of 2,887 tonnes. However, the emission reached 2,400 meters tall and drifted in the west and southwest directions.
Taal Volcano remains under alert level 1 (low level of volcanic unrest). INQ