High levels of PM2.5 particulates in Japan previously blamed on Chinese pollution, were actually caused by an active volcano, SMCP reports:
A study by Japan’s Meteorological Research Unit determined that the most recent wave of PM2.5 reported in central parts of the country and around Tokyo were in fact due to volcanic gas carrying sulphur dioxide from Mount Sakurajima in southern Kyushu. PM2.5 are the tiny airborne particles considered most harmful to health.
The volcano, which towers above the city of Kagoshima, has been classified as active since 1955 and hundreds of minor eruptions every year have ensured that a steady stream of ash is spewed out.
Activity increased earlier this year until a major eruption on August 18 saw a plume rising five kilometres above the crater and significant amounts of ash falling on surrounding towns.
However, China can’t breathe easy just yet (lest it catch lung cancer). Like when your friends blame you for an awful odor that was really caused by a ruptured gas main, you might temporarily be off the hook, but clearly you’ve proved yourself capable of such an offense before. In fact, earlier this year Beijing pollution may have been responsible for elevated PM2.5 levels in Southern Japan.