If you live in Karachi, you’ve probably noticed the stomach-turning stench that’s been permeating the air for the last day or so. The fishy smell is so prevalent across the city that it has sparked a plethora of complaints and interesting comments on social media. The good news is that the foul smell is only temporary. In fact, if you’ve lived in the city for any length of time, you’ve probably experienced it before.
Ooh… what’s that smell in Karachi?
The situation in Karachi brings to mind the chorus from the Lynyrd Skynyrd song “That Smell” (although the song is actually about a much grimmer topic than foul smells). Karachi residents quickly began to fill Twitter with remarks about the fishy smell that’s permeating the air. Most wanted to make sure they weren’t crazy and that others were also smelling it. Some of the tweets about it are so descriptive that even those who don’t live in Karachi can almost imagine the stench:
Why is #Karachi super smelly tonight??? This sick smell of dead fish (machli truck) and farts is all over Clifton, I I Chundrigar, Saddar. What is it Karachi??? Never smelt anything like all these years. #FeelingSick
— Jajja (@SumairaJajja) October 9, 2018
Why does Karachi smell of rotten fish marinated in yogurt??? :/
— Hiba Moeen (@hibamoeen) October 31, 2014
Here’s what’s causing the fishy smell
According to experts, the fishy smell in Karachi is the result of dying plants washing ashore in the port city.
You may recall that Karachi was engulfed in a similar fishy smell last year. At the time, the popular Facebook Page Weather Updates PK suggested that it was caused by an “Easterly wind shift.” However, the Pakistan Meteorological Department told Pakistani media outlets that it wasn’t caused by changes in the weather or wind shifts. An official explained that the smell was “likely related to the environment.”
The Pakistan Meteorological Department released a new statement on the fishy smell this year linking it to weather patterns. A spokesperson is telling Pakistani media that the smell is caused by “unusual prevailing weather conditions.” The weather patterns are apparently pulling “dust and dander” down into the lower atmosphere around the coast and causing a “high rate of evaporation due to cyclonic circulation.” The official explained that this pattern is pulling the stench of rotten fish into the city.
However, this year we have even more details on what’s causing the repugnant odor in Karachi. According to multiple Pakistani media outlets, the World Wide Fund said in a statement that the fishy smell is caused by phytoplankton washing ashore and decaying in Karachi.
Whatever the reason (and it sounds plausible that weather patterns could be at least partially to blame for the phytoplankton washing ashore, although that’s speculation on our part), Karachi residents will be happy to know that officials expect the fishy smell to clear within the next day or so.