Batangas PDRRRMO continues to monitor Volcanic Smog from the Taal Volcano

By Thiago Santos Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head Dr. Amor Calayan (center), shown in this June 14, 2023 photo,...

By Thiago Santos

Batangas PDRRRMO continues to monitor Volcanis Smog from the Taal Volcano
Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head Dr. Amor Calayan (center), shown in this June 14, 2023 photo, calls on Batangas residents near Taal Volcano to stay indoors and wear masks due to the emission of high volumes of volcanic smog or vog. Thirty-six students were taken to hospitals on Friday (Sept. 8) due to the vog’s effect, including difficulty in breathing. (Photo from Batangas-PIO)

BATANGAS CITY - The Taal Volcano is currently at Alert Level 1, indicating that it is still showing minor activity or a low level of volcanic unrest, including the emission of volcanic smog or vog.

As of September 8, 2023, 36 students from Bayorbor, Mataas na Kahoy, reported experiencing chest pain, breathing difficulties, and dizziness. This is according to the most recent situational report issued by the Batangas Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (BPDRRMC).

Furthermore, the students were brought to separate hospitals, according to a report received by the council from the Municipal DRRM Office of Matasa na Kahoy. Eleven of them were brought to the town's community hospital, and the remaining 25 are being treated at the Rural Health Unit (RHU). Six of the 25 students were sent to the San Jose District Hospital, one to the Metro San Jose Hospital, and one to the Batangas Medical Center, with the remaining 17 allowed to return home.

Due to the presence of vog from Taal Volcano, some towns have already suspended classes and implemented modular distance learning.

As the standing chairperson of the BPDRRMC, Governor Hermilando Mandanas immediately ensured the 24/7 monitoring and activation of the Operations Center of the BPDRRM Office, led by Dr. Amor Banuelos-Calayan.

Calayan's office does not stop communicating with municipalities near or surrounding the volcano.

In addition, the Batangas Provincial Government has distributed N95 face masks to students and residents of areas affected by volcanic smog.

BPDRRMO also partners with the Provincial Health Office for coordination and monitoring in the RHU.

According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), volcanic smog, or vog, is a type of air pollution caused by volcanoes. It consists of fine droplets containing volcanic gases, such as sulfur dioxide (SO2).

Some of its possible effects include eye and throat irritation. It is also possible to cause a respiratory tract infection, which can be serious depending on the duration of inhalation or exposure to it.

The BPDRRMO reminds one to protect oneself against vog by avoiding or limiting exposure to it, using N95 masks or gas masks, staying indoors if there is nothing important to do outside, and drinking plenty of water to relieve irritation and constriction of the respiratory tract.


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