Carbon dioxide levels around the volcanic island of Vulcano in the Aeolian archipelago off the north coast of Sicily have risen from 80 tons to 480 tons, effectively reducing the amount of oxygen in the air, according to the Italian National Institute. of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV). ).
Gas levels began to rise markedly on October 21, when residents began reporting breathing problems and health problems with their pets, who are often affected by declining oxygen levels earlier than humans.
Marco Giorgianni, the mayor of Lipari, which includes the seven islands of the Aeolian archipelago, signed an ordinance ordering the evacuation of the port area and designating a “red zone” where non-investigators or civil protection officials are prohibited from staying.
In the so-called “yellow zones”, people can stay, but they will have to stay on the upper floors of their houses.
The ordinance also bans all non-resident visitors and tourists from the island for one month.
“The activity of the volcano gives us reason at this point to pay attention although almost all the data points to a condition of stability,” he said, referring to volcanic activity. “The data that motivated my ordinance is the increasing gas emissions.”
He added that authorities had been tracking gas emissions for the past month and they had risen to a level that is potentially dangerous for humans, especially at night when they sleep.
“My citizens must reside where the air is safest and healthiest in this region,” he said.
According to the INGV’s Palermo and Catania-Etneo Observatory website, four geochemical stations are already in operation to measure soil CO2. The observatory has also installed seven new seismic stations (six in Vulcano and one in Lipari) to complement those already installed. A high definition thermal camera has also been installed to monitor the floor temperature.
According to the ordinance, residents will receive monthly allowances of € 400 for individual households, € 500 for two-person households, € 700 for three-person households and € 800 for households with more than four people to offset the costs of finding alternative accommodation .
Vulcano, named after Vulcano, the god of fire, and from which the English word volcano is derived, last erupted on March 22, 1890, according to the INGV.