Volcanic smog continues over Taal

Philippine News AgencyJune 29, 2021

MANILA – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Tuesday afternoon said a continued volcanic smog (vog) has been observed over the Taal Volcano's caldera, as it also received reports of ill effects from residents around the area.

If volcanic smog continues, the local government unit can temporarily evacuate severely exposed residents to safer areas, Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum, Jr. told the Philippine News Agency.

In an advisory, Phivolcs said reports of "adverse effects" came from residents of Lakeshore Tanauan City and Talisay Municipality facing Taal Volcano Island, and from some workers of aquaculture in Taal Lake.

Solidum said that most of those reports included throat irritation and difficulty in breathing.

"Those (working in) fingerling hatcheries described the air as stinging," he said.

High levels of volcanic sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas emissions and tall, steam-rich plumes have been observed from the Taal Main Crater since this past weekend, according to the advisory.

SO2 emission on Monday (June 28) averaged 14,326 tonnes/day -- the highest ever recorded in Taal.

On Tuesday, atmospheric temperatures of 34ºC, relative humidity of 53 percent and wind velocities of 1 to 4 meters/second within three kilometers of the atmosphere prevail over Taal Volcano.

With the continuous and unprecedented high SO2 degassing from Taal Main Crater, Phivolcs said it has recommended that health checks be conducted by local government officials on communities affected by vog to assess the severity of SO2 impacts on their constituents.

The LGUs, Phivolcs said, are also advised to monitor activities of aquaculture workers, to ensure that no one will venture too closely to Taal Volcano Island.

Phivolcs earlier advised those who have health conditions such as asthma, lung disease, and heart disease, as well as the elderly, pregnant women and children to protect themselves against the ill effects of vog.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), vog poses a health hazard by aggravating preexisting respiratory ailments.

Meanwhile, prior to Phivolcs' latest advisory, Globe has announced that it is ready to aid residents who may be affected by the vog.

The company is ready to provide its free calls, charging and wi-fi services in Batangas evacuation sites, it said.

"As part of its intensified disaster preparedness campaign, Globe assures the public that its technical and support personnel are always on call and that standby generators are ready for use by its facilities to ensure that communications services remain up," it added.

Globe has zero-rated Phivolcs website when being accessed by the public using Globe data since last year. Solidum confirmed that this aid has been continuous, whether there is threat in the Taal Volcano or none.

Yoly Crisanto, Globe's chief sustainability officer, said it is the company's commitment to assist the local and national government, especially during calamities.

"Whether through the provision of free calls, texts, charging, and internet connectivity, we are ready with relief assistance for our customers, and the affected communities,” Crisanto said. (PNA)

Read More