Odour pollution has been consistently ignored by Governments when considering their environmental policies. This is despite it being the second most common subject of public complaints across Europe. Odour pollution is not just an unpleasant nuisance but also associated with headaches, stress and respiratory problems. Perhaps more worryingly odour is an indicator of larger environmental problems such as poor sanitation and excessive levels of chemical pollution.
The lack of regulation from authorities around odour pollution is largely due to it being difficult to reliably measure and the potential solutions being costly to implement. In addition, industrial stakeholders rely on the issue of poor data and inadequate monitoring techniques to oppose any new initiatives to tackle the problems. Some efforts have been made to regulate odours throughout Europe, however in the absence of standardised levels, definitions and criteria, efforts are severely hampered.
Mapping for Change is working with partners across Europe and beyond on the Decentralised Network for Odour Sensing, Empowerment and Sustainability (D-NOSES) project. D-NOSES will change the way in which odour pollution is currently addressed at all levels of government. The project will share expert scientific knowledge in odour detection and measurement with the public to build an evidence base. The results will inform future plans to reduce odour pollution, develop a standardised set of regulations and influence policy at a local, national and European level.
Mapping for Change will bring its expertise in community engagement, citizen science and participatory mapping to the consortium. Together we will put odour pollution on the map and ultimately on the global agenda. D-NOSES will empower the communities blighted by odour pollution to drive change by supporting them to gather evidence of the problem. Once the problems have been identified, we will work with them and other stakeholders to design potential solutions.
This is a three-year, three million Euro, project funded by Horizon 2020, the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. Grant agreement number 789315. The consortium is coordinated by Ibercivis and comprises: Ideas for Change, ECSA, ISWA, AMIGO, MIO-ESCDE, Polimi, University of Kassel, APEA, Envirometrics, Ecotec, Municipality of San Joao da Madeira, Municipality of Sophia, LIPOR.
Is your neighbourhood is affected by odour pollution? If you are in the UK and would like to find out more about getting involved, please contact us with a brief description including the location and the scale of the problem.
In 2012, the Big Lottery Fund in England invested £1 million in 150 neighbourhoods for its Big Local initiative. Northfleet, Kent, was one of the first 50 to be selected. The grant aimed to equip local communities with skills and tools to identify key areas and issues where action was reqiored in their area.
Mapping for Change in collaboration with the Humanities Education Centre (HEC) and local specialist on learning and ‘place’ Maggie Hewitt, worked with three schools in Tower Hamlets (Columbia School Community Map, Arnhem Wharf School Community Map and John Scurr School Community Map) to pilot a brand new process in which Year 4 pupils develop personalised maps of their local area with their own likes, memories and views on change.
Breathe Clean will be providing Tower Hamlets residents with the materials & training needed to monitor nitrogen dioxide levels around the places that matter to them. Participants will measure the air quality at a number of locations over a period of six months, to get a more granular picture of the situation in the borough. The data from the Breathe Clean project will be made available on Mapping for Change’s community maps webpage.