Health department tracks vog in a unique way

Wendell Sano
Wendell Sano

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

KONA (KHNL) - While there's really not much, people can do to minimize the impacts of vog, the Department of Health has a unique way to track the dangerous levels of sulfur dioxide.

Nestled at the top of the Konawaena High School campus is what actually looks like a portable classroom.

But there are no chairs, chalkboards or even a curriculum here. Instead, it gives people a lesson on air quality.

"There are two kinds of monitors here, one for particulates, one for sulfur dioxide, they both draw in air from above the roof of this shelter, the air comes into this intake here and then analyzed, this is the particulates monitor and this is the sulfur dioxide monitor," The Department of Health's environmental specialist Wendell Sano said.

Sano is with the Department of Health's clean air branch. He says this vog-monitoring station is crucial to their battle with this nuisance.

"The levels are generally here in Kona, are below the air quality standards set nationwide for particulates and sulfur dioxide, so going by those levels, I would say it's safe," he said.

But to others, it's not, especially if they have breathing problems.

Doctors say one key thing you can do when the vog comes out is to stay inside.

But if that doesn't help, Sano hopes this vog-monitoring station will help. The information they get is posted on the Department of Health's Web site on a daily basis.

"This is to provide the best information we can as timely as possible," Sano said.

To hopefully lock vog out of people's lives here in Kona.

Sano tells us they plan to open up a few more stations around the Big Island, including Hawaiian Ocean View Estates and Waikoloa.