MANILA: Thousands of people were warned to stay indoors and many schools were shut on Friday as a thick haze blanketed the Philippine capital and surrounding provinces.
A spike in sulphur dioxide emissions from a volcano and a weather phenomenon that traps smog were blamed for the hazardous air enveloping the heavily-populated region. Communities near Taal volcano, which sits in a lake about 50-km south of Manila, were urged to stay indoors and close their doors and windows to protect themselves from toxic gases. Taal has been belching sulphur dioxide for weeks. At least 58 students in Batangas province fell ill on Thursday after a surge in emissions, an official said.