Deteriorating air quality linked to La Palma volcano prompts school closures, flight cancellations

The volcanic eruption on the Spanish island of La Palma. [EPA-EFE / MIGUEL CALERO]

The volcanic eruption on the Spanish island of La Palma eased Wednesday, but air quality is seriously deteriorating, prompting school closures and flight cancellations due to ash, on Wednesday. Experts said there was still no indication of when it will come to a complete end, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported.

Maria Jose Blanco, the spokesperson from the Volcanic Emergency Plan of the Canary Islands (Pevolca), said there has been a drop in the volcanic activity, including the levels of sulphur dioxide and seismic activity. However, experts said there was still no indication of when it will come to a complete end.

The Cumbre Vieja is currently “in a more stable process and a lower level of activity,” Blanco said, stressing that there is no end in sight for the volcanic eruption.

Monitoring stations also recorded an earthquake at 1 am on Wednesday at a depth of 38 kilometres off La Palma, measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale, Spanish media reported.

Pevolca called on people to take extreme precautions during ash handling. The combination of rainwater that is expected later on the day with volcanic ash could lead to the destruction of greenhouses, which are abundant on the island.

Since the volcano first erupted on 19 September, lava that can reach temperatures of around 1,300 degrees Celsius has completely destroyed some 1,462 buildings and more than 305 hectares of crops, according to recent data released by regional authorities.

(Fernando Heller | EuroEFE.EURACTIV.es)

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