Around Saint-Nazaire, these “volunteer noses” that track bad smells

Charles Guyard / Photo credit: YANNICK LE GAL / FRANCE ONLY / France only via AFP

In communities around the Saint-Nazaire estuary, the Air Pays de la Loire association is recruiting volunteers to detect the bad odors that poison the lives of local residents. By being able to recognize odors, solutions can be found to reduce them. Europe 1 participated in a workshop.

Noses that track bad odors. On the estuary side Saint Nazaire, the Air Pays de la Loire association is recruiting around fifteen volunteers to detect and analyze the pestilent odors emitted by local businesses. These are people who live or work in Donges, Montoir-de-Bretagne, Paimboeuf or Corsept. To do this, they must complete 32 hours of training. Europe 1 participated.

In front of Arnaud Vatinel are around fifteen people who the nasal language trainer invites to smell two small strips of paper. “What smells do you describe?” he asks. “It smells rotten”, “it’s a little spicy”, “it’s pleasant, but I can’t describe it more than that”, “I don’t know how to describe it”, the participants respond in turn.

Reduce odors

It is precisely to qualify these fragrances that this training was launched at the beginning of the year for these volunteers living in the municipalities of the Nazaire industrial basin. Their purpose: to let you know when an unusual smell tickles your nostrils. “In the Loire estuary, noses will learn about thirty different notes. Instead of saying ‘it stinks near my house’, then we can say ‘it smells like sulfurol, intensity 5’ “And then we can cross paths directly with the direction of the winds to be able to reduce smell at the source”, explains Justine Ledoux, from the Air Pays de la Loire agency.

“But there is a difference between an odor and pollutants, a very, very strong odor is not necessarily a source of pollution like the pollutants we monitor in our measuring stations. But it can have an impact on quality of life,” she continues. olfactory watchmen are recruited for a period of two years.

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