Staffordshire residents complain of headaches and nausea caused by the stench of nearby landfills
ITV News correspondent Ben Chapman reports residents fear for their long-term health
Residents living near a landfill Staffordshire said its unbearable stench harms their health, some complaining of dizziness, asthma attacks and headaches.
A gas called hydrogen sulfide is emanating from the Walleys quarry in Newcastle-under-Lyme and the smell has worsened in recent months.
Thousands of people have reported “foul-smelling” fumes, similar to rotten eggs or a gas leak, to the Environment Agency. Together with local MP Aaron Bell, residents have launched a “Stop the Stink” campaign.
“Quite often, we wake up at three in the morning – cough, feel sick,” Suzi Stringer, a resident told ITV News.
“The children wake up at this time and they will not go back to sleep.”
Ms Stringer added that the smell sometimes forced her to move.
Other residents, like Phoebe Smith, started taping their doors and windows to try and keep the stench out.“We are really concerned that the constant inhalation of this hydrogen sulfide, every night, will affect our physical health in the long term.
Suzi, a local resident, said the smell made it difficult for her children to play outside
“Mentally, it really destroys our well-being,” Ms. Smith said.
In early March, the Environment Agency detected gas levels well above the limits set by the World Health Organization.
Gas levels have dropped since the company that runs the landfill was told to start covering parts of it. Additionally, Public Health England said the smell was unlikely to cause serious problems.However, local GP Dr Paul Scott said the effect on his patients’ mental health was not negligible.
Phoebe Smith fears the fumes will affect her long-term health
“They feel that public health agencies and the Environment Agency have been very slow to respond … saying, ‘These are mild to moderate problems, this is not going to kill you.’
“But the effect on the quality of life for many people has been appalling,” said Dr Scott.Landfill owner Red Industries said it was on track to meet the deadline for capping and other improvements on Friday.But residents, many of whom have been here longer than the landfill, believe the only way to “stop the stench” is to prevent trash from being brought to their doorstep.