Concerns of people in Soufriere about the emissions and possible health effects from the Sulphur Springs have prompted a decision for research to be carried out on the risks associated with volcanic hazards.
A seismic research study on volcanoes has been undertaken here aimed at measuring the ambient concentration of sulphur dioxide at the Sulphur Springs, and in the town of Soufriere. The Project also focused on monitoring and measuring harmful volcanic gases specifically the concentration of sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere.
Velda Joseph, Acting Director of the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO), emphasised the importance of such a project.
“Such novel initiatives can strengthen local and regional capacities to reduce the cost and impact of disasters through enhanced preparedness by the application of low cost technology in some of our very vulnerable communities,” she said.
The project was implemented by a team of research experts from the Seismic Research Unit in Trinidad, in collaboration with several other stakeholders.
The main responsibility of the Seismic Research Unit is to monitor volcanic and earthquake activity in the English speaking islands of the Lesser Antilles.
Research Fellow of Volcanology at the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre, Dr. Eroucilla Joseph, noted that residents in the vicinity of the springs were concerned about the health effects of gaseous emissions.
“While coming here to monitor the volcano and speaking to the residents and visitors of the park, we became aware of their concerns about the emissions and the health effects, if any; so it became one of my interests to engage in a study that analyzed the ambient concentrations of the gases.”
The project was funded by the University of the West Indies Research and Impact Fund.