Bea Santina Maranan

With the recent volcanic activity of Taal Volcano, concerns have been raised across the country. Taal’s eruption was characterized by sulfur dioxide emissions of volcanic smog. It spread through Metro Manila and neighboring provinces due to prevailing winds. Alert Level 1 has been raised in the aforementioned areas.

Photo Courtesy of The Philippine STAR

In addition, on September 21 sulfur dioxide emissions from Taal's primary crater reached 4,600 tons per day. Burnt matches can smell like sulfur dioxide, a dangerous and hazardous chemical that is naturally emitted by volcanic activity.

Volcanic smog or vog may be very dangerous to human health since it is made up of small droplets packed with sulfur dioxide and other volcanic gasses. Hazards that come with vog are as follows.

Cause irritation to the eyes
The tiny particles of vog can cause eye inflammation, puffiness and redness when in contact with the eyes.  

Throat Irritation
When inhaled the particles of sulfur dioxide will cause irritation to the throat due to the harm of foreign particles.

Respiratory Disease
Vog may enter the respiratory tract and cause damage to its parts, the particles are harmful when inhaled and severity may vary depending on exposure. 

Acid rain
Pollution may cause acid rain that may cause respiratory irritation when the particles are inhaled.

When exposed frequently to smog, it might irritate the eyes, throat, and respiratory system. The pollution particles may also lead to acid rain in this period that may cause irritation to the respiratory tract.

DOST chief, Sec. Renato Soldium Jr. stated in an interview “Sa oras na nagkakaroon ng volcanic fog diyan sa Taal Volcano ay dapat talagang nagma-mask ang ating mga kababayan. Dito sa Kamaynilaan at karatig na probinsiya lalung-lalo na iyong maraming mga tumatakbong mga sasakyan, makikita po natin iyong pollution,”

(Once there is volcanic fog in Taal Volcano our fellow citizens in Metro Manila and nearby provinces should really wear masks especially where there are many vehicles, we can see the pollution)

Health experts advice the wear of K95 masks in order to keep the wearer safe from dust particles that may cause harm to human health. As of September 23, 2023 Alert Level 1 remains constant in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces.