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Hawaii officials ponder the vog problem 24 September 2008

Posted by admin in Hawaii, Kilauea, natural hazards, United States.
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Kilauea volcano continues to pump out high levels of sulphur dioxide in its emissions, which contributes to high levels of volcanic air pollution. When the wind is in the wrong direction, large parts of Hawaii Island are choked in the nasty, acidic haze, which can cause significant health problems.

Back in May the Speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives appointed a Special Committee to investigate vog effects. The Committee held its final meeting last week, which was addressed by health, education, civil defence and emergency services representatives. The consensus seems to be that there is very little one can do to get away from vog, but that one can shelter from it. Health officials suggest that residents should create ‘safe rooms’ in their homes where they can shelter from the effects of vog, and the Department of Education has announced that ‘safe rooms’ with purified air supplies will be set up in all Big Island schools. Some sectors of agriculture have been hit hard by the persistent vog produced by the volcano’s activity since the spring, and among other plans floated has been the suggestion that farmers could be evacuated to areas unaffected by vog. In general, the Committee itself seems to be looking to Washington for assistance in dealing with the vog problem: ‘We really need to reach out to FEMA and Congress for some help on this issue’, says Committee Chair Robert Herkes.

For more on vog: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory: sulfur dioxide, vog and volcanic ash FAQ.

For all our Kilauea coverage: Kilauea « The Volcanism Blog.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Kilauea – summary information for Kilauea (1302-01-)
USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory – main page for the HVO
HVO Kilauea Status Page – the latest activity reports for Kilauea

The Volcanism Blog