FOUR municipalities in Batangas were experiencing zero visibility caused by volcanic smog or vog from the activities of Taal Volcano, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said Friday, September 22, 2023.
In a radio interview, Batangas PDRRMO chief Doctor Amor Calayan said 11 municipalities in the province were affected by the activities of Taal Volcano.
“At this point, mukhang lumalapad talaga (‘yung affected areas) (at this point, it seems that the affected areas are really expanding ). Last week, we have only Balete, Mataasnakahoy, Laurel, Talisay, Agoncillo, and Malvar,” she said.
“But now we were able to get down to the other municipalities yesterday, like Nasugbu, Lian, Balayan, Tuy, and Calatagan. Ang Calatagan medyo okay pa po, pero ang nasabi kong Tuy, Balayan, Lian, and Nasugbu, nagze-zero visibility talaga,” she added.
Calayan said motorists were advised to be extra careful and cautious to avoid untoward incidents.
She said it would also be better if the public stayed at home or wore N95 face masks in case they needed to go out.
Several schools in affected areas have already cancelled classes due to vog.
According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), vog consists of sulfur oxide, gas, and other volcanic gases that combine with the atmosphere, dust, or even sunlight, resulting in a “hazy mixture” or the blurring of the surroundings.
Vog may cause eye, throat and nose irritation when inhaled.
People with asthma, heart and lung conditions, the elderly, children, and pregnant women are more sensitive to vog.
Phivolcs urged the public to avoid exposure from vog.
Calayan said they have already received report of complaints of difficulty in breathing as well as weakening of the bidy after exposure to vog.
Alert Level 1
The Phivolcs said Taal Volcano is currently under Alert Level 1 or low-level unrest.
Over the past 24 hours, five volcanic tremors that are 20 to 575 minutes long were recorded in Taal.
The sulfur dioxide emission increased from 4,322 tonnes on Tuesday to 4,569 tonnes on Thursday.
It was reported that a voluminous plume, measuring 24 meters in height, was emitted towards the west-southwest and southwest directions.
Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) has issued a Notice to Airmen advising aircraft operators not to fly over the vicinity of Taal Volcano, particularly near the surface all the way up to an altitude of 10,000 feet.
“Flight operations are advise to avoid flying close to the volcano's summit as airborne ash and ballistic fragments from sudden explosions may pose hazards to aircrafts,” Caap said. (SunStar Philippines)