Taal volcano
File image: Taal volcano releases ash and smoke during an eruption in Tagaytay, Cavite province south of Manila, Philippines. Image Credit: AP

An active volcano south of the Philippine capital Manila has spewed steam plumes and covered surrounding areas with smog, prompting authorities to suspend schools in nearby cities and urged people to stay indoors or wear masks.

Taal Volcano remains on Alert Level 1 in a five-rung scale which means that the threat of an eruptive activity has not ceased, according to an advisory from the Philippines' volcanology institute on Friday. The plumes rose 2,400 meters with the crater emitting more than 4,000 tonnes of volcanic sulfur dioxide on Thursday, it said.

A smog that covered parts of metropolitan Manila on Friday, however, is due to emissions from "heavy vehicular traffic" and not caused by emissions from Taal as the volcanic smog was not heading towards that direction, the Environmental Management Bureau said in a statement.

Taal erupted on January 2020, affecting nearly 400,000 people with authorities locking down towns to prevent residents from returning to their communities, including on the island where the volcano is located.