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article imageLondon Stinks... Literally!

By Susan Duclos     Apr 19, 2008 in Environment
London seriously stinks. Quite literally. The smell is being described as "putrid" and although some tried to blame the French, that was ruled out. Even the Queen at Windsor Castle, was not spared from this foul smell.
Friday morning the people in London awoke to a horrible smell that had many people wondering if the city's sewers had overflowed.
People in London, Kent, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, East Anglia and Devon were complaining about the foul odor.
It wasn't the sewers and The Daily Mail tried to blame the French for the odor, but that was soon rebutted by a a forecaster at the Met Office, Helen Chivers, who assured everyone the smell had come "from Northern Europe."
The Daily Mail actually changed the titled of their story from, "Le Stink: England engulfed by terrible smell...", to "Der Stink: Germany to blame for terrible smell engulfing England blown in by freak weather", when it became apparent that France was not to blame.
Google actually has the piece still listed under the first title, but when you click, it takes you to the piece blaming the Germans.
Back to the issue of the odor. Chivers told ABC that due to the weather situation, "air over Germany, Belgium and Holland hasn't moved for a while."
"One doesn't know whether the origins of the smell are industrial or agricultural, but we think it's built up over time, since it was trapped in the atmosphere for a while. That's why it's so intense," she said.
It is believed that once the rain starts falling as it inevitably does in London, the odor will dissipate and despite quite a few calls when the odor originally was noticed, the London Fire Brigade spokesman told reporters that they hadn't received any further calls about it as of yesterday.
Some of the headlines from the major media have shown some humor on the part of the writers or editors that title their pieces, such as, CNN International, who head lines with, "Stinky manure smell engulfs London, " or Guardian.co.uk with, "What's that smell? A whiff of Europe", although my personal favorite was from ShortNews.com, with their headline declaring that, "London Smells Like %$#@."
According to the Guardian piece, the National Farmers' Union believed the putrid smell was coming from Dutch farmers with their "slurry spreading" at the end of their no spread Winter period.
Their communications director, Anthony Gibson, said, "This is what happens when farmers are forced to empty their slurry store all in one go at the same time instead of being able to apply it little and often during the winter. We are grateful to the Dutch farmers for laying on such a pungent demonstration of what could happen every spring here in the UK if the government presses ahead with its ill-conceived proposal to implement a blanket ban on winter slurry spreading."
The Water Aid charity claims that London has not smelled this bad since the, "Great Stink of 1858", caused by raw sewage.
Whatever the ultimate cause is, all account do agree on one thing.... London smells like crap.
More about London, Odor, Windsor castle