Italy’s Venice turns crystal clear amid COVID-19 nationwide lockdown
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“The water now looks clearer because there is less traffic on the canals, allowing the sediment to stay at the bottom,” a spokesman the Venice mayor’s office told CNN. “It’s because there is less boat traffic that usually brings sediment to the top of the water’s surface.”
One person on Twitter shared images of near-pristine waterways, where fish and swans are enjoying the respite from cargo boats, cruise ships and tourist gondolas.
“Here’s an unexpected side effect of the pandemic — the water’s flowing through the canals of Venice is clear for the first time in forever. The fish are visible, the swans returned,” they wrote, alongside images taken in Burano, an island in the northern Venetian Lagoon. The tweet shared Tuesday has already garnered over 900,000 likes.
Despite human devastation, studies have already shown that the coronavirus has had a positive impact on the environment across the globe. Along with the cleansing of Venice’s canals, the air over Italy has similarly purified due to slowing emissions from power plants, cars and other industrial sources, according to new data from the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-5p satellite.
A view shows clearer waters by a gondola in a Venice canal on March 17, 2020 as a result of the stoppage of motorboat traffic, following the country’s lockdown within the new coronavirus crisis. (Photo: Getty Images)
In a heartwarming show of camaraderie last week, locked-down Italians in Siena opened their windows and burst into a spontaneous chorus led by one man singing old folk songs. And in Turin, a neighborhood weary of being cooped up in their apartments raised a toast and partied together — each in their own apartments — as one resident blasted music and pointed a strobe light out their window.
With some 35,700 cases of the coronavirus and more than 2,900 deaths caused by it, Italy has become the second-hardest-hit country next to China, a nation with more than 20 times the population. The acute impact of COVID-19 on the Mediterranean country has been made worse by the fact that more than one-fifth of the population is over the age of 65, and at a higher risk for complications.
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