Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Chicago smells like chocolate!

Today while out for a walk along the Elbe in the summery March weather that we are having, I was listening to my favorite radio show, This American Life, on my headphones while a certain someone was taking a nap in his stroller. I was listening to the episode "In the Shadow of the City", and in the third act, a speaker started talking about a bridge in Chicago that smells like chocolate! This really made my day, imagining walking through town being trailed by the smell of chocolate...when they reported that someone in the city actually complained about this smell, causing an investigation into the chocolate factory which releases the cocoa powder, and ultimately leading to trouble for the chocolate factory due to fine particle pollution from cocoa. You can read more and see a picture of the chocolatey bridge here.

Here in Dresden Neustadt, we have a toothpaste factory that also causes certain streets to smell minty fresh sometimes, and at the most interesting times: occasionally in the morning, when you should have fresh minty breath anyway, once in a while later in the evening, which can really refresh you and wake you up better than a stiff cup of coffee if you've just been out for a heavy dinner. I used to live directly adjacent to this factory and I loved sometimes opening my windows to be met by a wall of minty freshness, I can understand the speaker on "This American Life" who said it was like 1000 little stabs to the heart to know that the chocolate smell would be gone in the future. But is this toothpaste factory perhaps the cause of some of the fine particle pollution that we have here? Could it be that a limit on the number of automobiles in this neighborhood would do very little to no good in reducing the fine particle pollution here, when the real problem is a toothpaste factory? Maybe they should just move the fine particle testing station away from its current location on a busy street to the park, as one city did, and the pollution would probably drop dramatically all by itself!

Here are a couple articles about the smelly chocolate factory:

An End to a Sweet Smell in Chicago

Chocolate Smell On EPA Hit List

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