Schools shut as gases from volcano make children ill
There is no imminent threat of a major eruption of Taal Volcano, which authorities said remains at a low level of unrest.
Smog containing gases from a restive Philippine volcano has sickened dozens of students and prompted 25 towns and cities to shut their schools as a health precaution, officials said.
There is no imminent threat of a major eruption of Taal Volcano, which authorities said remains at a low level of unrest in Batangas province south of Manila.
But they said its emission of sulphur dioxide-laden steam in recent days has caused skin, throat and eye irritation for at least 45 children in nearby towns.
Classes were suspended in 25 towns and cities in Batangas to keep pupils safely at home.
Some schools have resumed online classes and home learning that were in wide use at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.
Smog has also been reported in Manila north of Taal in recent days, but the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said it was largely caused by vehicle emissions and not the volcano.
Taal, one of the world’s smallest volcanoes, is among two dozen active volcanoes in the Philippines, which lies along the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, a seismically active region prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
The 1,020-foot volcano sits in the middle of a scenic lake and is a popular tourist attraction about 37 miles south of Manila.
Taal erupted in January 2020 with a massive plume of ash and steam which prompted the evacuation of tens of thousands of people and the closure of Manila’s international airport.