New satellite images released by NASA shows toxic cloud of gas spreading in the lower region of Iraq.
According to Business Insider, ISIS militants burned down Al-Mishraq sulfur mine and processing facility last week, during a bloody battle for control of Mosul, Iraq --- the last major Iraqi city under ISIS control
The photos taken by the Aqua satellite showed the smoke ballooning over parts of Syria, Iraq and Turkey.
United Press International said that the plume of sulfur dioxide has grown in size and as seen from NASA's image, has turned into grayish white as it continually hickens. The report added that the photo also features a second cloud extending from the nearby Qayyarah oil field. Unlike the gray plume from the powerplant, the second plume is black because of the abundance of black carbon and other light-absorbing aerosols,
Monitoring by NASA's Ozone Monitoring Instrument on Aura and the Ozone Mapping Profiler Suite (OMPS) on Suomi NPP shows that a large sulfur dioxide plume is now spreading across northern and central Iraq.
"In the first few days, the fire did not appear to be particularly energetic and our preliminary observations suggest that much of the sulfur dioxide remained in the boundary layer and the lower troposphere, which accentuates the impact on air quality and health," said Simon Carn, an atmospheric scientist at Michigan Tech in a statement.
"More recently, sulfur dioxide has been lofted to higher altitudes where it may undergo long-range transport," he added.
According to, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), inhaling small volumes of the noxious smoke of sulfur dioxide can cause irritation to the nose, eyes, throat, and lungs. Large amounts can lead to lung irritation and difficulty in breathing.
As per Daily Mail, nine people have reportedly died while another 1,000 people are being treated for breathing problems.
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