THE village of La Bombilla in Spain’s isla bonita has carbon-dioxide (CO2) levels so high that the area poses a risk to life and health.

During a parliamentary hearing which took place yesterday, Thursday May 26, to inform of the effects of the volcanic eruption that took place on La Palma from September 19 to December 13 of last year, it was revealed that the village of La Bombilla has 50,000 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide in the air—the recommended level is 400 ppm, (outdoor CO2 concentration), and below 800 ppm indoors.

With 50,000 ppm of carbon dioxide in the air, the area of La Bombilla has been considered incompatible with life.

In fact, concentrations around 40,000 ppm are considered immediately dangerous to life and health as the high levels of carbon dioxide can cause asphyxiation because it replaces oxygen in the blood.

Studies show that a 30-minute exposure at 50,000 ppm (the level detected in La Bombilla) produces signs of intoxication, and a few minutes of exposure at 70,000 ppm and 100,000 ppm produces unconsciousness.

The director of the National Geographic Institute in the Canary Islands, Maria Jose Blanco, has acknowledged that there is no forecast as to how long these emissions will last given that carbon dioxide is a long-life greenhouse gas and can remain in the atmosphere for more than one hundred years.

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