Poop stinks. No matter what you call it (scat, manure, droppings) most waste has an odour all its own.
I am not sure what biosolids smell like, but being a country girl, I’m well acquainted with the smell of waste.
The morning air that wafts through my window is redolent of horse manure. Now I, for one, have come to associate horse manure with home. It is not a terrible smell, considering horses only eat grass, hay, and oats. Herbivores tend to have waste that doesn’t smell like something crawled in their intestines and died.
Some chicken waste is smelly, especially if it’s soupy. (There’s a lovely visual for you.) When it’s dried out and applied to the fields around my house, it isn’t quite so fragrant. Don’t get me wrong: it still has an odour. But you don’t have to close your windows to avoid gagging over your supper.
I did have to close the windows when I was visiting my cousin in Kingston recently; otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to eat supper. I’m pretty sure it was pig manure. Pigs, being the creature that can eat anything and everything, have waste that smells like the end of the world. Not the kind of odour that gets you hankering for bacon, that’s for sure.
My point is that manure is a fact of life in the country. We deal with it.
Even in towns, manure is prevalent. Due to all the farmer’s fields surrounding Acadia University in Wolfville, you can walk on campus (a rather snooty brick-built campus, if I do say so myself) amid the odour of manure. Most universities only have to deal with the reek of tired tenured windbags. Acadia smells like chicken poop.
The stink of residents in the Halifax Regional Municipality in regards to biosolids (treated human poop) is understandable, given most city folk aren’t privy to the smells of agriculture in the country.
I don’t understand the big brouhaha. Give me the smell of manure any day over the smell of exhaust on a downtown street, the choking scarf of diesel from a bus, or the stench of someone’s cigarettes plugging the humid air of your car as you wait for construction.
Now, to be fair, I have never smelled biosolids. However, I have had my sewer pumped and I’ve walked close to Halifax Harbour. I can see residents’ point.
Nevertheless, the rolling, pastoral drumlins of the South Shore, or the lush flat pastures of the Annapolis Valley are often perfumed by the smell of manure. You know you’re in the country when you smell a bit of poop. (I suppose you also know you’re close to a legislature or city hall when you get that same odour.)
Poop is a fact of life. Though many of us have been made soft by the ability of our toilets to whisk away waste quickly, we can’t forget that manure is essential to agriculture and landscaping. It is often natural and nourishing, albeit a bit stinky.
Even actress Ellen Page has recently decried the spreading of human waste in her hometown. I’m not sure if she’s going to appear in a photo op holding her nose while standing in a recently planted area of Point Pleasant Park or not.
There is the question of pollutants and heavy metals potentially lingering in treated waste. However, it shouldn’t be a problem unless one starts growing turnips or tomatoes on the median strips of Dunbrack Street. And since most water comes from outside the city, there’s no danger of Point Pleasant Park’s nefarious biosolids tainting the water supply.
I’m just glad I don’t live in London circa 1590 because I wouldn’t want to wear a hat to keep chamber pot contents from going down my back, or carry nosegays of lavender so I don’t smell the sewage in the open ditches. (And people wonder how cholera spread!)
Come to think of it, I love the country. There’s a lot less stink all the way around. I think I’ll stay.