East London residents complain of waking up to mystery stinch that smlt so bad they were ‘afraid to breathe’

Residents across two boroughs in East London took to social media on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning to complain of a foul smell wafting through the air and into their homes. Just after 7pm on Tuesday, Facebook groups covering various parts of East London suddenly became inundated with people asking if others could smell the stench.

The answers indicated that the smell had spread to different areas of the London boroughs of Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham, with people in Chadwell Heath seeming bearing the brunt of it. However, some residents said they could smell the stench even as far as Woodford and Newbury Park.

One local person asked: “Can anyone else smell that awful smell around Chadwell Heath? It smells like a mixture of sick and bin bags. It’s terrible!!” Responding to the post, one person responding said she thought it was her dog’s ‘poo’ when she smelt it from her garden, while another replied saying it smelt more like a “chemical attack on the whole area”.

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It’s as yet unknown where the smell was coming from

Some speculated the smell had been coming from pipe works, while others claimed it was linked to a gas leak in Stratford. One even joked it was coming from the ‘dodgy fast food in Barkingside’ and another claimed it was ‘camel manure blown over from the Sahara’. But the main word going around was that the smell was being caused by fertilizer manure being used on fields along the A12.

One person driving on the A12 said there had been some ‘muck spreading’ near Collier Row, while another driver said he couldn’t take the smell and that it was so bad he “nearly had to pullover”. Another person said: “It was horrendous in Romford too, earlier. I almost passed out! And was there when I got home to Newbury Park!”

Speaking to MyLondon, local resident May said: “I first noticed it about 6pm last night. It actually smelled like horse s*** that had been left out in the sun. It was worse than the sewers. It was just an awful, really powerful smell.

“This morning around 8:30 when I was on my way to work it was actually worse. I had to hold my breath. I actually couldn’t breathe. I didn’t want to even open my mouth. It was really that bad. I’ve been living here for 15 years and I’ve never smelt anything like this.”

MyLondon contacted the councils of the affected boroughs for comment on Wednesday. On Thursday, a spokesperson for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham said: “Our enforcement officers have visited the site and carried out their investigation at the site the bad smell at the site at the end of Whalebone Lane. We have since reported our findings to the Environment Agency who have started an investigation.”



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