Phivolcs warns of volcanic smog over Taal

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(File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 15) – Volcanic smog or vog – an acidic gas which can severely irritate the eyes, throat, and respiratory tract – has been detected over the Taal lake since Friday morning, state volcanologists warned.

The gas is particularly harmful to individuals with asthma, lung disease, heart disease, the elderly, pregnant women, and children, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

The entire Taal region has been affected by vog since the first week of September due to Taal Volcano’s continuous degassing activity.

“Continuous upwelling at the Taal Main Crater Lake formed steam plumes that rose 3,000-meters high before drifting off to the north-northwest,” it said.

“In addition, a total of 3,264 tonnes/day of volcanic sulfur dioxide or SO2 gas emission from the Taal Main Crater was also measured today.”

Phivolcs urged nearby residents to limit exposure by staying indoors and keeping windows and doors closed. It also recommended the use of an N95 face mask and to drink plenty of water.

Taal Volcano remains under Alert Level 1. This means the caldera is in abnormal condition and “should not be interpreted to have ceased unrest nor ceased the threat of eruptive activity.”