A light dusting of snow is blamed for air pollution in Tver, southern Russia. (Ria Novosti, Press Service) A light dusting of snow is blamed for air pollution in Tver, southern Russia. (Ria Novosti, Press Service)
A toxic gas has forced residents of a southern Italian island to be evacuated.
The Italian news agency ANSA reports that about 120 people have been taken to hospital as the level of carbon dioxide in Vulcano hit as high as 250 milligrams per liter, the threshold for a red alert. Reports earlier on Tuesday said the level had been at 200 milligrams per liter, and that a red alert has now been lifted, but the public health office in the Italian city of Perugia said 50 to 60 people are expected to remain in the hospital all day. ANSA added that the tourism site of the island, normally known for its beaches and turquoise waters, has been closed to visitors.
“It was awful,” said resident Rocco Piela, who walked his daughters to school. “It was like a fog, like you were back in the middle ages. It feels better now the air has become clearer.”
Giovanni Serdiacono, an environmental expert, blamed “minor dusting of snow” for the rise in the concentration of the gas on Monday. He said the smell of carbon dioxide is overwhelming and described it as “like an onion.” The run-off from the snow melted after just hours. Italian media reported that as of Wednesday, the level of carbon dioxide in Vulcano had dropped to around 200 milligrams per liter, and that the helicopter hired to fly airlifts has now left.
Mark Chilverson, of the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, has said, “It would only be an event of this importance that health authorities would advise people to stay indoors.”
For photos of the incident, click here.
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