Law and Odour
Vancouver is looking at an "odour emissions control" bylaw. The culprit, a local rendering plant that cooks animal parts and old grease into usable products like tallow, which can then be used for candles and soap. That's right, soap. For that just showered feeling all day long, it's cooked animal parts.
Apparently the smell offenses are increasing and there are more complaints. Several years ago Maple Leafs Foods paid a hefty fine (almost half a million dollars) when a Hamilton plant left local residents nauseous. Amazingly Green Products of Collingwood was fined $300K in 2009 when neighbors complained that the smell was making them, well, amazingly green and they were unable to sit in their own back yards.
THE NOSE KNOWS
Olfactory nerves are the most sensitive of all, certainly very powerful. Smells permeate our very being more so than sights and sounds. We've had noise bylaws and any one of us are quick to complain when someone is creating too big a racket next door. Visually there are a lot of atrocities, but it's hard to make a law against ugly.
So what about odour? How does a city or municipality make an anti-stink law? There are obvious cases, like the neighborhood rendering plant and polluting industrial sites, but is this going to be the "who farted?" law? What about cooking? Can you fine the guy down the hall cause he cooks cabbage and fish every Wednesday? What about the person who wears too much cologne/perfume at work? Can you use it to bust the homeless? Certain offensive odours I'm sure we can all agree on but I assume they would have to be listed within the legislation. That's weird.
From Calgary this summer, I spoke to an engineer who's invented a device that can measure any vehicle above 96 decibels (a preset standard), photograph their license plate and mail them a $200 ticket. What's the smell standard and how would it be measured? Answer is: There isn't one and it's not an exact science. That means any law beyond the obvious would immediately be up for challenge. (Btw I think they could make anti-smell road signs...stink lines in a circle with a big red line through them.)
Perhaps Vancouver should just Febreze itself. LEAVE COMMENTS.
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