D-NOSES aims to kickstart a much needed collaborative journey to tackle the problem of odours at a global scale by developing coordinated local case studies in 10 European and non-European countries for validating methodologies and producing DIY guidelines for project replicability. The pilot studies will apply and evaluate the proposed methodologies and tools for stakeholder engagement and the co-creation of possible solutions.
The pilots will be chosen and fully defined in due course as the project progresses. Here we present some of the early proposed pilot cases.
The Forum Area is located in the south-east end of the city of Barcelona, by the coastline. The area was renewed in 2004 alongside the celebration of the “Forum of the Cultures”, a global event on sustainable development, peace and cultural diversity. It was a controversial process due to the massive high-level property building and coastline changes involved, although from an urban planning point of view, it was a clever movement because it allowed to bring the Diagonal Avenue (one of the main city arteries) up to the sea and to revitalise a traditionally depressed area. However, the odour emitting activities already present in the area, treating more the half of the urban solid waste and the wastewater generated in the city, were not acknowledged.
The area contains several waste treatment facilities, such as a bio-methanisation integral waste treatment plant, a waste incineration plant, and a pneumatic collection station; plus a covered WasteWater Treatment Plant (currently underneath the Forum Plaza), with a treatment capacity of 3M inhabitants, the biggest in Catalonia; and a wastewater sludge treatment plant. The odour problems caused by these plants are well known in the city, and depending on the time of the day and the meteorological conditions, one can smell fresh wastewater, sludge, fresh waste, decomposed residue or biogas.
The communities living nearby have been complaining about these problems for many years. The variety of the odour emitting sources and the area’s demographic, socioeconomic, cultural and urban diversities makes this case study a complex and challenging one to validate the D-NOSES methodology based on citizen science to improve environmental odour management.
The Region of Central Macedonia (RCM) is the second most populous in Greece after Attica. RCM is also a very important region in terms of economic development producing various agricultural products, hosting industrial activities, services and tourism. One of the refinery plants of Hellenic Petroleum is in the region and very close to the metropolitan area of Thessaloniki, the second biggest city in Greece.
The refinery was established in 1966 and the population at that time was ca. 5.000. Now days the population is ca. 100.000 (census 2011) in an area of 13 km2 and the current distance from the urban area is less than 500m. The social characteristics of the area comprise of working class consisting of people who are employed for wages, especially in manual or industrial work, with an average GDP per capita of 14.000€.
There is no data on when the problem begun, but since at least a decade there are documented complaints on odour issues
The refinery claims that it follows the environmental permit requirements and also participates in major Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, to develop the municipality’s infrastructure and well-being. Furthermore, in the recent past, the refinery has been involved in panels with the public to explain the process
Major stakeholder is the Region of Central Macedonia (RCM) who deals with a serious environmental and social issue. The Municipality of Kordelio- Evosmos is another stakeholder along with the Citizens of the municipality that are organized in the Facebook group, ‘Breathing is our right’. The Refinery is also an important stakeholder that needs to deal with the complaints. Technical University of Thessaloniki finally provides consulting services and performs ambient air quality monitoring.
From the 1970s, an animal by-product processing plant has been causing odour nuisances in the municipality, located 1,3 km away from the city centre. The whole surrounding area has been affected, in a radius that extends for several kilometers, depending on the orientation of the winds and atmospheric conditions and has consistently reached other municipalities including Santa Maria da Feira. These processing plants continue to generate controversy between the population and its administration. While everyone recognizes their economic value and the wealth they create in jobs, it is no less true that the odour emissions far exceed the radius of the 1 kilometer limit that their managers claim they achieve.
Several actions have been put in place, but the situation still persists. A private mapping platform (Odourmap) was used from 2013 to 2015 with the collaboration of the citizens, who were disappointed after their crowd-sourced data had no relevant effect. In 2016, a social movement of protest achieved to gather 5000 signatures and submitted a request to the Assembly of the Republic of Portugal, which decided to issue the resolution 190/2017 recommending the government to take the necessary measures to solve the environmental problems.