Volcanic Ash Causes Air Pollution in South Iceland Skip to content

Volcanic Ash Causes Air Pollution in South Iceland

Ash which has fallen in south Iceland from the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull is stirred up in windy conditions, creating air pollution. On Wednesday the situation was worst in the countryside below the Eyjafjöll mountain range when the visibility was limited to100 meters.

The ash fall at its worst. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

At Heimaland on Wednesday, the 24-hour average air pollution mean was 1,118 micrograms per cubic meter, which vastly exceeds the health protection limit. Yesterday, the air pollution situation was similar at Hvolsvöllur, as Thorsteinn Jóhannsson, a specialist at the Environment Agency of Iceland, told Morgunbladid.

At one point last night the air pollution level reached 8,218 micrograms per cubic meter in Vík. Jóhannsson said that for comparison, the air pollution caused by fireworks in Reykjavík on New Year’s Eve peaks at 2,000 micrograms per cubic meter.

Jóhannsson said people should react similarly in ash storms as they would during ash fall—preferably stay inside but if they must go out, they should wear dust masks. Unnecessary activity, such as practicing sports outdoors, should be avoided while the air pollution level is high.

Air pollution will continue to be measured in the area and the levels can be monitored on kort.vista.is for Heimaland and Vík and loft.rvk.is for Hvolsvöllur.

Click here to read other eruption-related news.

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