The Philippines issues health warning as volcano brings smog to capital, city of Manila and its surrounding regions belches out smoke.
Manila (Reuters) – A diminutive yet agitated volcano near the Philippine capital of Manila spewed an excess of sulfur dioxide and volcanic smoke on Friday, prompting authorities to close schools in five cities and dozens of towns, urging people to stay indoors.
The State Volcano Institute of Volcanology and Seismology reported that it observed the emission of hot volcanic fluids in Taal Volcano’s crater lake, resulting in the release of volcanic gases.
The alert level remained at level 1 on a five-tier scale, indicating “volcanic earthquake, and steam or gas activity at the main crater.”
Situated in a picturesque lake in Batangas province near Manila, the Taal Volcano is one of the 24 active volcanoes in the Philippines. In January 2020, it spewed ash and steam up to 15 kilometers (9.32 miles) high, necessitating the evacuation of over 100,000 people and causing numerous flight cancellations due to heavy ashfall in Manila.
Randy Dela Paz, head of the Civil Aviation Authority’s Southern Manila Office, told DWPM radio, “We have reports of respiratory illnesses related to volcanic ash in Batangas province due to volcanic smog, or vog, which contains sulfur-like volcanic gases that can irritate the eyes, throat, and respiratory tract.”
Officials suspended classes on Friday in Cavite, Laguna, and Batangas provinces and in five cities and the capital area near the Taal Volcano.
The Civil Aviation Authority advised pilots on Friday to avoid flying near the volcano’s summit as “ashes in the air and sudden explosions could pose a danger to aircraft.”
The Philippines lies in the “Ring of Fire” in the Pacific Ocean, where volcanic activity and earthquakes are common.
(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Michael Perry)
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