By Shermain Bique-Charles
Residents have been told that they could experience some level of ashfall from the volcano in St Vincent over the next few days.
Director and Volcanologist of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), Dr Graham Ryan, has indicated, with a high degree of confidence, that ash from La Soufrière in Saint Vincent — mainly suspended in the air — affected Montserrat on Tuesday and continued to do so up to Wednesday morning.
And, based on that report, local climatologist Dale Destin said yesterday that, given Antigua and Barbuda’s proximity to Montserrat and consistent with volcanic ash models and forecast winds, it is highly likely that the twin island state has also experienced ashfall from St Vincent and will likely continue to experience it at least for the next 48 hours.
Since Antigua and Barbuda is also currently being affected by dust from the Sahara Desert, air quality has been reduced to moderate due to the presence of a mixture of volcanic ash and Saharan dust.
“Impacts are expected to remain minor, but the threat of health problems is elevated for mainly unusually sensitive people, such as asthmatics, people with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children,” Destin said.
And while the air quality is acceptable, Destin said, there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.
Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, for instance, should limit prolonged outdoor exposure.