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Eruption Pollution Warning Issued in West Fjords

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Eruption Pollution Warning Issued in West Fjords

Sulfur dioxide pollution visible over Reykjavík

The pollution in Reykjavík last week. Photo: Zoë Robert.

Residents in Ísafjörður and elsewhere in the West Fjords received a text message from the Civil Protection Department at around 11 pm yesterday evening, warning them that high pollution levels because of the Holuhraun eruption were present in the area and advising them to stay inside.

A pollution detector by the police station in Ísafjörður showed sulfur dioxide (SO2) levels of 2,000 mµ/m3 last night—600 mµ/m3 is the safety limit. People were asked to close all windows and turn up the heat to keep the gas out, visir.is reports.

The warning came as a surprise as Ísafjörður is about as far from the eruption site as possible and, while North and East Iceland have seen their fair share of SO2 gases, so far the West Fjords have not been affected by the pollution.

This morning the pollution levels in Ísafjörður had dropped to 600 mµ/m3. The forecast is for an easterly wind today, carrying SO2 across North Iceland, the southern West Fjords, West Iceland and the capital region. The forecast, which can be seen here, is similar for tomorrow.

This morning SO2 levels reached 1,500 mµ/m3 in Norðlingaholt on the outskirts of Reykjavík and around 1,700 mµ/m3 in Kópavogur, a neighboring town. Pollution levels can be monitored on airquality.is and warnings will be issued if necessary.

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