Temporary monitors track air pollution near lava flow

Photo: County of Hawaii

The state Department of Health has installed three temporary particulate monitors on the Big Island to measure and inform nearby residents of the air quality levels affected by the Puna lava flow.

Two monitors are currently located in Pahoa and one in Leilani Estates. These monitors may be relocated or additional monitors installed as the lava flow moves or additional breakouts occur.

Click here to view monitoring data and advisories.

The University of Hawaii’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology has also developed a model to forecast the lava flow smoke in Puna.

“Our monitoring data and smoke model will measure and predict air quality, but this information is no substitute for good judgment. People should consider for themselves how sensitive they are to smoke exposure and act accordingly,” said Gary Gill, deputy director of Environmental Health. “The smoke impact at any place or time may change due to unpredictable wind and weather conditions.”

DOH recommends that residents in smoke-affected areas avoid outdoor activities or physical exertion. People with respiratory illness or heart disease, older adults and children are urged to avoid smoke exposure.

Smoke may worsen symptoms for individuals who have pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as allergies, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Individuals that have these conditions should keep their medication refilled and use daily (controller) medication as prescribed.

Anyone who feels they may need medication or medical attention should contact their physician.

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