Prague, Feb 13 (CTK) – Volunteers have been detecting a bad smell in the air in the Ore Mountains (Krusne hory) area on the Czech-German border since January within the OdCom Czech-German project, co-funded by the European Union, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) wrote on Monday.

Germans have complained about chemicals in the air causing an unpleasant odour, which, they say, leak from the Czech side of the Ore Mountains, north Bohemia, for several years. However, they have been searching for the originator of the smell in vain. This is why the OdCom three-year project was launched at the beginning of 2017. It will cost almost two million euros, MfD writes.

“We may gain interesting data during 2017 already,” Czech Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) told MfD, adding that the source of the bad smell might be combined.

Several special devices measuring ultra-soft particles in the air have been placed in the area within Czech-Saxony environmental projects.

Besides, specially trained “sniffers,” volunteers who are able to distinguish and describe a sudden unpleasant smell, participate in the projects, MfD adds.

There are 13 such “sniffers” in Germany and 11 in north Bohemia who register bad smells in central and western Ore Mountains.

The Czechs participating in the projects had to pass “entrance exams” in Seiffen, Germany, to prove they are able to detect an unpleasant smell caused by chemicals.

One of them is Dagmar Mandikova from Litvinov, north Bohemia. She has already smelt a bad odour four times. In each case, she had to fill in a special form, including date and time and a short description of the smell’s character and intensity. She also used a spirometer to monitor her airways’ reaction to the smell.

The data from the form are then processed along with meteorological data, MfD says.

Other “sniffers” use special canisters to collect the samples of “suspicious air.” The canister is sent to a lab for a further analysis.

The volunteers will help monitor the air for the whole year, except for the summer. Their remuneration is quite symbolic.

“This is really rather volunteering,” Mandikova told MfD.

The OdCom project also focuses on a possible negative impact of bad air on people’s health on both sides of the border.

“We will be monitoring children’s respiratory illnesses incidence, the reception of patients to hospitals and death rate. We also prepare questionnaires for patients,” Eva Rychlikova, from the Health Institute in Usti nad Labem, told MfD.