Water in Venice Canals Are “Crystal Clear” During Quarantine Shutdown

The coronavirus pandemic has affected the whole world and people have become terrified of its terminal consequences. We all live in fear and eagerly waiting for this novel virus to be eradicated. Due to its fast spreading many governments issued lockdowns and the activity of people has been reduced to a minimum.

In these dark times there is something positive and that is reduced air pollution making the air we breathe in clearer and fresher. Wuhan was the first epicenter of the coronavirus and the Chinese government issued a lockdown which contributed to a drastic improvement of air quality. Wuhan has nowadays clearer blue skies and cleaner air than ever before. Similar thing happened to Italy as well and the effects were mostly felt in Venice where the canals are cleaner and almost see-through so that you can see fish swimming in them, amazing, isn’t it?

It seems that nature benefited a lot from the coronavirus outbreak; scientists have confirmed that the levels of NO2 are substantially reduced.

In December 2019, Wuhan was hit by the virus and at that time the air pollution is dangerously high, but after the social isolation, the travel bans and the pause of factory work the sky became turned blue showing its natural color.

On the other hand, the Venetians are witnessing fish swimming in the crystal clear canals since there are no tourists, almost no gondolas, the Venice Architecture Biennale is postponed, the museums are closed, meaning Venice has no touristic activity which contributed to clear waters.

The drastic decrease in air pollution was also reported by the time-lapse video filmed from space by the European Space Agency (ESA).

Reduction of NO2 over Italy

New data from the Copernicus EU #Sentinel5P mission reveal a decline of air pollution, specifically nitrogen dioxide emissions, over Italy. This reduction is particularly visible in northern Italy which coincides with its nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the #coronavirus 👉http://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/Videos/2020/03/Coronavirus_nitrogen_dioxide_emissions_drop_over_Italy

Posted by ESA – European Space Agency on Friday, March 13, 2020

The lowered activity at factories and less traffic contributed to this decrease in pollution, and Claus Zehner, who manages the satellite which took the photos over the Po Valley region, the Copernicus Sentinel-5P, believes that is the reason for such positive change in air quality.

He stated:

Although there could be slight variations in the data due to cloud cover and changing weather, we are very confident that the reduction in emissions that we can see coincides with the lockdown in Italy causing less traffic and industrial activities.”

The murky water canals in Venice now are not a common sight but clear water canals with fish in them. These photos were posted to the Facebook group “Clean Venice” so that everyone can see them. They go with a caption:

 “Incredible images of the Rio deiFerali, behind San Marco square, usually cloudy. Nature reclaims its spaces. Less traffic, less discharges.”

However, the Venice mayor’s office explains that the fish was there always and that they have not come as a result of the changed and improved quality of water. The spokesman of the mayor’s office stated that this “miracle” is caused “because there is less traffic on the canals, allowing the sediment to stay at the bottom.” Boat traffic, that is common in Venice, “usually brings sediment to the top of the water’s surface.”