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When I returned from my first trip to Iqaluit, Nunavut, four years ago this week, it wasn’t the rugged landscape or the views of the bay or the late sunsets or the beautiful art that I was left raving about, charming as those things were.
It was the air.
“You’ve never smelled air like that,” I told my wife, probably sounding a little unhinged. But hey, when you live in a humid, congested city in August, the cool, crisp, clean breeze was something to get excited about.
Nowadays, the air there doesn’t smell cool or crisp or clean. It smells like a four-storey pile of flaming garbage.
“Dumpcano,” as some residents have taken to calling the massive fire that has been burning at a landfill on the outskirts of town since May 20, blankets the city with a toxic stench about three times a week. On the really bad days, the young and old are told to stay indoors and close their windows, while strenuous outdoor activity is discouraged for all.
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