These people in Izu Islands wear gas masks day & night due to Sulphur. Just for the dangerous study, to test the survival of human existence in these poisonous Islands!
Hoax or Fact:
The story that comes with the interesting picture claims that those people living in Izu Islands wear gas masks day and night to protect themselves from the harmful sulphur in environment. And it is said that this is a part of a dangerous study to test the survival of human life in these poisonous Islands. It is NOT a fact.
About the Picture
The picture in question shows a group of people in swim suits wearing gas masks. However, neither the people are from Izu Islands, nor the picture is associated in anyway to the issue. The picture was created way back on 23 Aug 1938, and shows a pre-war family using respirators at the Empire Pool, Wembley, London - in a Gas Mask Drill.
This picture seems to have been copied by Flickr users and posted in various categories, also relating to Gas Masks.
About Izu Islands
The Izu Islands are a group of Volcanic Islands stretching south and east from the Izu Peninsula of Honshu, Japan. Volcanic activity is frequent in this area, and also includes release of harmful gases. Highest concentrations of poisonous gases like Sulphur were observed to be leaking up through the ground. So after a series of eruptions from Mount Oyama, which is the main volcano on the island, a mass evacuation of people was instituted in the year 2000. However, the residents of Miyakejima were finally allowed to return to their “normal” routines in 2005, but they were required to carry a gas mask with them at all times - in case of future volcanic emissions and increase in poisonous gases in environment. Whenever such a situation arises, there is a siren system to inform people that they have to wear their gas masks.
Scientists conduct experiments on these volcanic islands of Izu to study the deteriorating land and atmosphere here. This seems to have been misinterpreted by someone, and so came the above claims. The people in Miyakejima of Izu Islands live their natural life there, while they are supposed to carry gas masks at all times; so the claims of human life testing this way are hoax.
Some parts of the Izu Islands like Miyakejima in fact attract good number of tourists, and even gas masks are available for them at many tourist shops on the island.