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3/12/2009

Volcanic smog smothers farmers in Hawaii island

Pahala, Hawaii: Leafless monkey pod and browning Norfolk pine trees litter Ted Seaman's nursery in the small town of Pahala on the southern edge of Hawaii's largest island.
At fault are the noxious fumes that have been pouring out of the Kilauea volcano in unprecedented volumes since last spring.
"You can only go so far before you say forget it," said Seaman, who has since taken a job trimming trees. The 53-year-old is focused on saving enough money to file for bankruptcy.
Sulphur dioxide from the volcano has wiped out multiple small farms and nurseries in the nearby largely rural district of Kau.
The gas, which creates volcanic smog when mixed with sunlight and air, threatens the viability of some flower and vegetable crops. Roses, sunflowers, protea, lettuce, tomatoes and even medical marijuana are hurt by the smog.
Image: Claudia McCall picks vog-burn damaged leaves from sprayroses at the McCall Flower Farm in Wood Valley near Pahala,Hawaii
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