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Sheep Farmers Concerned about Eruption Pollution

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Sheep Farmers Concerned about Eruption Pollution

Sheep roundup. Photo: Dagmar Trodler

Farmers in East and Northeast Iceland, the regions that have suffered the most sulfur dioxide (SO2) pollution from the Holuhraun eruption, are concerned about the wellbeing of their free-roaming sheep which have yet to be rounded up for the winter.

The first roundups of the season have taken place and Einar Ófeigur Björnsson, farmer at Lón in Kelduhverfi, Northeast Iceland, told ruv.is on Tuesday that sheep herders have been affected by pollution during roundups.

“It’s a difficult situation, both for people and animals. Herders, horses and sheep often grow tired during roundups,” explained Einar.

Auður Arnþórsdóttir, a specialist vet at the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST), said the toxic chemicals have the same effect on animals as people, who have reported headaches, stinging in the eyes and sore throats.

Therefore, farmers have been advised to take it slow during roundups and not put the sheep under more strain than necessary.

Yesterday, a haze could be detected hanging over mountains in North Iceland, including Akureyri, ruv.is reports. According to the Icelandic Met Office, inhabitants in the West Fjords even reported a haze, possibly originating from the eruption in Holuhraun.

Today, the sulfur dioxide (SO2) pollution is expected to move south over the central highlands and west and southwest of the eruption site, which is located north of Vatnajökull glacier in the northeastern highlands.

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