D-NOSES Policy Brief – A tool to increase awareness and ensure productive co-creation
Author: Dr. Simone Rüfenacht (ECSA)

Odour pollution is a growing problem …

As cities continue to grow, the space between industry, agricultural facilities and residential areas is decreasing. This exposes an increasing number of citizens to recurring odour pollution from these activities. In fact, odour pollution is the second leading reason for environmental complaints in Europe (Dunod 2005). Despite this, regulation is insufficient at best and in many European areas environmental regulations ignore odour issues completely.

But why?

Odour pollution is not a recent issue. Many publications in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s have dealt with odour issues and proposed new mathematical models to calculate the dispersion of emissions from the source, which should have helped to protect communities at the planning stage. More recently, scientific reviews of existing odour regulations have alerted to the lack of a common definition and approach. Even with this evidence, change is slow or non-existent. The lack of standardised regulations and, in some cases, complete lack of oversight is mainly due to three factors: (1) odours are difficult to measure, (2) the implementation of solutions can be costly, and (3) industries often oppose changes in regulation.

What can be done?

D-NOSES aims to provide an inclusive approach to tackling odour issues. It will address the three issues mentioned above by (1) using the most sensitive odour sensors, i.e. the human nose, to gather data, (2) introducing a cost-effective method to measure and correlate odour incidents with industrial or agricultural activities, in order to pinpoint the actual odour sources, and by (3) facilitating an effective and targeted dialogue with all involved stakeholders.

How to start …

The complexity of the odour pollution question can make it difficult for stakeholders to fully grasp the issues. To support local decision-makers, emitting industries and affected citizens in understanding the key facts, D-NOSES has published a policy brief entitled “Odour pollution – A growing societal concern”. The aim is to give readers a short, four-page introduction to the issues and explain the practical value of the proposed D-NOSES solution. This should raise awareness of odour pollution and provide all stakeholders with the necessary background knowledge to think about how they can engage in productive dialogues and effective co-created solutions.

Read the D-NOSES Policy Brief (Europe_EN)