DOST to farmers: Postpone planting due to vog

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 22) — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has advised local agricultural producers to postpone planting their crops as the volcanic smog from Taal Volcano can lead to sulfuric acid droplets, which can be damaging to plants.

“Definitely wag muna sila magtanim at mas maganda kung kaya naman i-cover ‘yung mga mature na at mga merong bunga na para mas maprotektahan, at hugasan na kaagad,” DOST Sec. Renato Solidum said in a briefing Friday.

[Translation: They should delay their planting, and it’s also better if they would wash and cover those crops that are already mature and have fruits for protection. ]

He explained that while it is possible that heavy rains can wash down pollutants in the air, tiny droplets mixed with vog can trigger acidic rain.

“Kaya minsan nagkakaroon po ng mga pagpaso ng halaman at mga balat ng tao,” he said.

[Translation: That’s why sometimes it can corrode plants and human skin.]

Solidum said people residing near the volcano can expect to see damaged plants due to this recent development.

The official also said affected farmers can expect to receive assistance from the government.

Meanwhile, the DOST official also noted that state volcanologists have not observed any indication that Taal’s alert level should be raised and said there are no signs of a sudden eruption.

“Ang nangyayari po sa Taal Volcano ay patuloy naman po itong nagbubuga ng asupre o sulfur dioxide. Ito naman ay normal na pangyayari sa kasalukuyang alert level, in fact mababa ito kumpara sa mga nakaraang mataas na alert level,” Solidum said.

[Translation: Taal Volcano continues to emit sulfur or sulfur dioxide. This is a normal occurrence with the current alert level, in fact, it is low compared to previous high alert levels.]

The DOST chief warned that the occurrence of vog could remain as Taal continues to emit high levels of sulfur dioxide while it remains under alert level 1.

Solidum said the release of volcanic gas lingers even after the eruption of a volcano. He said the public should be more prepared to protect themselves from health risks caused by vog.