Sources of Odour Pollution

Odour Pollution:

In this modern and consumerist world, the market is loaded with cosmetics, deodorants, body sprays, talcum powder, and air purifiers, all with one goal, to fight against bad odor. One can witness large heaps of piled-up garbage dumps in a metropolitan city like Kolkata. The organic decomposition of biodegradable matter emits large quantities of gases or particulates which combined with the atmospheric air cause odor pollution.

Sources of Odour Pollution:

1. Sewage Treatment Plants (STP):

The human wastes (feces, urine) from toilets and public urinals are treated in sewage treatment plants. Gases like ammonia and methane generated by this treatment process bring about a foul odor. Public toilets and urinals in hospitals, cinema halls, and even educational institutions generate bad odors.

2. Garbage:

While passing through the garbage dumps, one’s hand goes to the nose inevitably to prevent nose irritation. The biodegradable parts like vegetable peels, fruits refuse, and paper pieces, undergo decomposition and release gases like methane and affecting the local atmosphere. Kolkata generates on average about 3100 tonnes of solid waste per day and so proper solid waste disposal becomes mandatory to protect its citizens from odor pollution.

3. Burning ghat/crematorium:

In India, many dead bodies are burned in the open air which gives burnt flesh a smell and thus spoils the atmospheric air, making it unfit for inhalation.

4. Mortuary:

Most of the morgues near the hospitals store the corpse in the open grounds. The decomposed bodies leave a noxious smell, which pollutes the local atmosphere and gives the passers-by an uneasy feeling. Natural disasters like the Gujarat earthquake had buried many human bodies under the debris, which in turn generated a bad smell hindering the rescue operations. One can’t forget the ghastly scenes of Orissa’s cyclone. Thousands of carcasses were left unattended and the stench from the decomposed bodies was unbearable.

5. Domestic:

Poultry droppings, cow dung from khatals and pig food release harmful gases.

6. Drainage and unused wells:

When one lifts or opens the lid of a manhole of the drainage it gives out a pungent smell, which can cause asphyxiation in human beings. An unused well due to algal bloom changes the color of the water and gives a bad odor.

7. Tanneries:

Tanning process in leather industries is done with the help of the bark of trees. The effluent emitted from the tanneries releases noxious gases into the atmosphere. Pollutants generated during the leather dusting process can cause cancer in human beings.