Authorities in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have expressed concern over the impact of ash fall on the health of the public.
This following Friday’s eruption of La Soufriere volcano.
According to media reports, the country has recorded ash fall as far from the volcano as Argyle International Airport some 12 miles away.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves explained that one of the problems is that people cannot use whatever limited pipe water that’s available to wash away the ash.
“You have to try and sweep it away as best as you can,” he told NBC Radio on Saturday.
Gonsalves also advised people to wear masks, because it’s difficult to breathe.
“Around town there’s lots of ash and on the road,” he explained.
Gonsalves indicated that one option being explored was using big mechanical sweepers to clear up the ash.
And thereafter the fire brigade could wash away the residue with river water.
But he described the matter as a ‘complicated business.’
“You have to look at the texture of it – is it going to block up the drains?”
“You can’t leave it, but in the disposal of it you have challenges,” he explained.
Gonsalves said that was the reason why he referred the matter to public health and other specialists.
The Vincentian Prime Minister also disclosed that ash samples are being collected to send to researchers in the UK, to determine whether the ash has any additional matter that could affect health.
In addition, he said the Chief Medical Officer would contact the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to conduct detailed testing.
Local officials are also testing the water supply.
Headline photo courtesy Reuters