Odours emissions sources are always closer to residential areas since their increasing expansion towards industrial contexts. The need of an effective solution to characterize the real odour annoyance perceived by the exposed population is thus of fundamental importance to avoid complaints and increase the quality of life in the areas surrounding industrial centres. The characterization of the odour emissions can be implemented with analytical, sensorial and senso-instrumental techniques. However, in order to have a complete and effective characterization, the implementation of integrated approaches is rising as preferred method since the need to take into account simultaneously emissive, sociological and morphological aspects.
The present study aims to report the development and application of a novel integrated method for the proactive characterization of odour annoyance in urban areas. The system has been implemented with a tailor-made design with regards to a sensitive municipality in which are located significant odour emissions plants. The proposed approach integrates analytical, sensorial and senso-instrumental techniques. The main feature is related to the validation of odour annoyance data collected from citizens with the data collected from Instrumental Odour Monitoring Systems (IOMSs), Air Quality and meteorological stations. Data from citizens are collected by a novel mobile APP. All the collected data are continuously elaborated for the creation and validation of interactive maps able to proactively identify possible undesirable conditions before the occurrence of odour annoyance events. The results of the real application of the proposed method demonstrated the importance of applying the citizen science approach to increasing the social engagement and of validating sensorial data with meteorological data by applying near-real-time dispersion models.