[Effects of volcanic eruptions on environment and health].
ABSTRACT Volcanoes pose a threat to almost half a billion people; today there are approximately 500 active volcanoes on Earth, and every year there are 10 to 40 volcanic eruptions. Volcanic eruptions produce hazardous effects for the environment, climate, and the health of the exposed persons, and are associated with the deterioration of social and economic conditions. Along with magma and steam (H2O), the following gases surface in the environment: carbon dioxide (CO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen sulphide (H2S), carbon sulphide (CS), carbon disulfide (CS2), hydrogen chloride (HCl), hydrogen (H2), methane (CH4), hydrogen fluoride (HF), hydrogen bromide (HBr) and various organic compounds, as well as heavy metals (mercury, lead, gold).Their unfavourable effects depend on the distance from a volcano, on magma viscosity, and on gas concentrations. The hazards closer to the volcano include pyroclastic flows, flows of mud, gases and steam, earthquakes, blasts of air, and tsunamis. Among the hazards in distant areas are the effects of toxic volcanic ashes and problems of the respiratory system, eyes and skin, as well as psychological effects, injuries, transport and communication problems, waste disposal and water supplies issues, collapse of buildings and power outage. Further effects are the deterioration of water quality, fewer periods of rain, crop damages, and the destruction of vegetation. During volcanic eruptions and their immediate aftermath, increased respiratory system morbidity has been observed as well as mortality among those affected by volcanic eruptions. Unfavourable health effects could partly be prevented by timely application of safety measures.
SourceAvailable from: Clive OppenheimerOccupational and environmental medicine 03/2006; 63(2):149-56, 125. DOI:10.1136/oem.2005.022459 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Considerable progress has been made in volcanic disaster mitigation in the Philippines during the last four decades, since the devastating Hibok-Hibok eruption in 1951 and the establishment of the Commission on Volcanology (COMVOL), the forerunner of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) in 1952. The management of the Pinatubo Volcano eruption crisis of 1991-92 marks the highest point in the development of volcanic disaster mitigation in the country. State-of-the-art volcano monitoring techniques and instruments were applied; the eruption was accurately predicted; hazards zonation maps were prepared and disseminated a month before the violent explosions; an alert and warning system was designed and implemented; and the disaster response machinery was mobilized on time. The unprecedented magnitude and lingering nature of the hazards, however, and their widespread, long-term impacts have sorely tested the capability of the country's volcanic disaster mitigation systems. In particular, the lahar threat has triggered controversies and put decision makers in a dilemma of choosing between adaptive versus confrontational/control approaches. At least three strategies have been articulated and adopted in varying degrees and forms: (1) the establishment of a lahar monitoring-warning-evacuation system to deal with the lahar problem on an emergency basis; (2) relocation of settlements from the hazard zones; and (3) installation of engineering countermeasures to control/divert the lahar flows and protect settlements. A combination of the three appears to be the best, but the most effective and least costly mix remains to be determined.Disasters 04/1994; 18(1):1-15. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-7717.1994.tb00281.x · 0.69 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The eruption of the volcano Krakatau in the Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia) in 1883 had worldwide impact. This was perceived in the three quite different types of global propagation that occurred after the eruption: a rapid pressure wave, noticeable only to measuring instruments, followed a few hours later by the spread of the news of the event, succeeded by a slowly expanding optical phenomenon that lasted for a couple of years. Krakatau was the first natural catastrophe of global magnitude that was almost immediately recognized as such throughout the world, largely thanks to the recently installed worldwide telegraphic network.Endeavour 02/2003; 27(3):113-6. DOI:10.1016/S0160-9327(03)00107-8 · 0.26 Impact Factor