By Genalyn Kabiling
Authorities have pushed for a temporary ban on fishing in the lake around Taal Volcano and on consuming possibly contaminated fish following the restive volcano’s ash explosion.
According to Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) director Renato Solidum, fishing activity should be prohibited, especially given the evacuation implemented within the 14-kilometer danger zone around the restive volcano.
“Pag sinabi natin within 14 kilometers, kasama na Taal Lake, dapat walang tao (When we say within 14 kilometers, it includes Taal Lake where there should be no people),” Solidum said in the “Laging Handa” (Always Ready) press briefing at the Palace.
“Pag sumabog ‘yun ng malakas, gagapang ‘yung above lake water. ‘Pag nandun ka sa lake, delikado (If there’s a strong explosion, it will spread above lake water. If you’re in the lake, it is dangerous),” he said, adding that the Alert Level 4 status over Taal remains.
The public is also strongly discouraged from eating fish from Taal Lake to avoid food poisoning and other health problems, Health Assistant Secretary Maria Francia Laxamana said.
Laxamana, in the same press briefing, said people who eat contaminated fish might experience symptoms such stomach ache, vomiting, and diarrhea.
“Pinagbawal na. Definitely may advisory na lahat nanggagaling diyan sa area ng Taal, Batangas dapat wala na bibili kasi hindi natin maaasahan ‘yung safety ang ating mamamayan (It is prohibited. We have an advisory that no one should buy fish from Taal because we cannot ensure the safety of the people),” she said.
“Parang food poisoning ‘yan, walang tigil ang pagtatae at pagsusuka. Ang number one natin gawin ay rehydrate ang pasyente (It’s like food poisoning. There will be nonstop diarrhea and vomiting. The number one remedy is to rehydrate the patient).”
In a later media interview, Laxamana said fish from Taal Lake may not be safe for human consumption following the volcano’s release of toxic materials.
“We advise people not to eat fish from the lake kasi lumabas na yung mga toxic materials from the volcano (because the volcano has unleashed toxic materials),” she said.
“If you have diarrhea, you can go into dehydration. Akala nila ordinary stomach pains, pagtatae; pag walang consultation na ginawa, akala nila ordinary lang ‘yun (they think it’s just ordinary stomach pain, diarrhea, if there no medical consultation).”
She said the resumption of consumption of fish from Taal Lake will depend on advice from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Department of Agriculture (DA).
So far, Laxamana said the health department has dispatched health workers and other personnel to affected areas to provide immediate services. Medicines and face masks have also been distributed to communities affected by the ash explosion.
The government has warned of the possible hazardous explosive eruption of Taal Volcano amid its increased activity since Sunday. The volcano has been spewing giant clouds of ash and triggering quakes, prompting thousands of families to move to safer ground