It has been more than three weeks that the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island is hotting out lava, ash in the sky. The ash cloud can be seen from miles away. However, along with the molten rock and deadly ash cloud, one can also find a deadly ‘vog’ in the picture. As per scientists, higher sulfur dioxide emissions recorded at the volcano’s vents in recent days are creating the potential for heavier than usual vog, or volcanic smog.
So what exactly is vog?
This type of air pollution can be referred to as Volcanic Smog or Vog. As of now, vapour mixed with carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide gas is being released from Kilauea volcano. This mixture of gas reacts with sunlight, oxygen, moisture and other elements and particles. This mixture of various gasses converts fine particles which scatter sunlight, thus creating a haze. As per The Interagency Vog Dashboard, this haze can be seen downwind of Kilauea. As per the U.S. Geological Survey, the sulfur dioxide emissions from Kilauea have increased more than doubled since the current eruption began.
Every day, Kilauea was spewing 15,000 tons of which is up from 6,000 tons prior to the May 3 eruption. As for the people living miles away from eruption have raised an issue about the increased amount of noxious fumes.
Are there any health impacts?
“Everyone is having symptoms now on some level,” Dr. Josh Green was quoted as saying by CBS news. Symptoms from the Vog usually include burning eyes, headaches and sore throats. However, the symptoms become deadly from the people with diseased like asthma or other respiratory problems. They can end up being in the hospital. Although, people who lead an active and healthy lifestyle can tolerate the basic symptoms said Dr Green.
Is the vog worse now?
As per environmental health specialist for the state health department’s Clean Air Branch, Lisa Young, with increased emissions from the volcano, there’s definitely more vog. A retired photojournalist, Chris Stewart, said, “There is one good thing about vog and that is it intensifies the colours of a sunset. However, it depends on how thick the haze actually is. On some days, it’s thin enough for you to see the sun passing.” Stewart added, “But on other days we just go inside because we can’t see it at all.”