Kitty residents forced to endure stench from decomposing whale

Kitty is now reeking due to the decomposition of the 30-tonne sperm whale that washed ashore there last December.

Many residents living near the seawall say they had to stay indoors because the odour is upsetting.

When Stabroek News visited the area, the pungent scent was in the air.

Joan Coates said the stench started to burn her grandson’s nose first. And after he started to complain about the smell, she became aware of it. Coates said the smell was like faeces on Wednesday. She said the smell had subsided but the rankness still lingers and all windows had to be shut tight or a repugnant stench would blow in. “…this scent affecting us and we are suffering,” Coates said. She is hoping that something will be done soon about it.

Tyron Seaforth said Wednesday, when the stench was the most overwhelming, he got nauseous. The man said the smell had subsided yesterday but he was still apprehensive about the relief because the scent seemingly comes and goes with the tide. He said he was shocked that it is the whale’s decomposed body that’s causing the odour, since it died two months ago.

“I did not know it was the whale that was smelling,” Devon Douglas, another resident, said. “It don’t really affect me that much, only when the rain fall you does get a lil fishy smell,” he added.

Dexter Reid, who was sitting on his verandah when Stabroek News interviewed him, said he could not have been sitting on his verandah on Wednesday because the scent was awful.

Gerard Austin, who visits his friends in Kitty often, said yesterday people were breathing in the rotten scent. The man said on Wednesday night his friend could not have slept because of the odour. “It’s only when the rain stops, the smell ease down,” Austin said.

“The smell is just terrible,” a Kitty hotel manager added. “It eases up a little, but it’ll come again.” The man said the disgusting odour started to affect the hotel guests and at first he wanted to know if something was wrong with the hotel’s septic tank.

He complained about people leaving the hotel because the smell keeps creeping in and it is unbearable for some guests who opt to find another place to stay. The manager said he believes a few truckloads of sand might ease the burden on the nostrils.

According to description published in the National Geographic Magazine, a decomposed whale smells like a jar of bacon grease that you leave out in the sun for weeks. And the odour is so potent that it clings to everything you own. It gets into your sinuses and stays there for days afterward.

Conservationist Annette Arjoon-Martins had said that due to the density of the whale’s skin and the rapid disintegration of its internal organs, volunteers were advised to place pipes in the mouth and anus of the animal to relieve a buildup of gases from decomposition, thereby preventing an explosion.


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