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Pollution Warning in Höfn: Keep Kids Inside

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Pollution Warning in Höfn: Keep Kids Inside

sulfur dioxide pollution from Holuhraun eruption in Fáskrúðsfjörður, East Iceland, September 10, 2014

The pollution in the East Fjords in early September. Photo: Zoë Robert.

The Civil Protection Department advises people living in and around Höfn, Southeast Iceland, to drive their children to school today and to keep the children inside during breaks because of extreme sulfur dioxide (SO2) pollution from the eruption in Holuhraun.

SO2 levels measured 1,200 mµ/m3 in Höfn this morning but between 4,200 and 6,600 mµ/m3 in the nearby rural areas Mýrar and Suðursveit. SO2 levels exceeded 21,000 mµ/m3 in the region yesterday. Inhabitants were advised to keep their windows closed during the night.

Continued eruption pollution is forecast in Southeast Iceland today, ruv.is reports.

“The model we use to monitor the gas distribution indicates that there will be pollution in that area on an off during the next 36 hours and [it will] move to the east late in the night,” stated director of the Civil Protection Department Víðir Reynisson.

The website of the Environment Agency of Iceland reads that at SO2 levels higher than 2,000 mµ/m3 everyone may experience respiratory symptoms, especially individuals with underlying diseases.

Above 9,000 mµ/m3 the symptoms grow more severe and above 14,000 mµ/m3 the situation is considered to be hazardous.

Further information on the volcanic gases in English, including a link to a map showing pollution meters in different locations in Iceland are available on the agency’s website.

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