Playschool Kids Kept Indoors Due To Eruption Pollution - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Playschool Kids Kept Indoors Due To Eruption Pollution

Published October 3, 2014

Photos by
Matthew Eisman

Playschool children were kept indoors in an east Iceland town after sulphur dioxide from the Holuhraun eruption began to affect area residents.

MBL reports that residents of Breiðdals­vík in east Iceland discovered today clouds of SO2 darkening the skies. The gas caused some to experience burning eyes and difficulty breathing.

This prompted Civil Protection in Iceland to issue a statement advising children and those with lung conditions such as asthma to stay indoors. Playschool director Guðný Jón­as­dótt­ir told reporters that while there was no visible pollution in the morning, later in the day bluish-grey clouds of sulphur dioxide could be seen coming over the mountains. At this point, the children were brought inside.

East Iceland has been awash in varying levels of SO2 since the Holuhraun eruption began. The Icelandic Met Office reports that the gas is now primarily over much of east Iceland. Although SO2 levels in populated areas have not yet been high enough to prompt evacuation, this occasion marks the second time Civil Protection in Iceland has advised certain members of the public to stay indoors because of the gas.

Sulphur dioxide is a natural by-product of volcanic eruptions. While there have been no reported deaths or injuries from exposure to it, dead birds that succumbed to the gas have been found near the eruption site.

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