Coronavirus lockdown makes Venice’s canals cleanest in living memory | World | News

Officials believe that the lack of boat rides has allowed sediment in the canals to settle at the bottom. Scientists say nitrogen oxide levels have also dropped over northern Italy since the country went into quarantine, due to the coronavirus crisis sweeping the globe. White swans have also been seen roaming canals which have been left deserted by their usual huge crowds of tourists.

The whole of the country was plunged into quarantine to try to grapple the coronavirus crisis, with Italy the biggest-hit country in Europe with thousands of deaths.

Amidst the rare welcome side-effect of the health crisis, one Venetian local, Marco Capovilla, said he “had never seen” the water so clear after filming some of the fish under the surface.

He said: “The city doesn’t have sewers, so normally everything goes into the canals, including detergents and cosmetics.”

Thanks to the quarantine, we are experiencing a cleaner environment.”

Bank worker Martina Bettoni, 33, said: “Seeing so many fish in the canals was extremely rare before the quarantine.”

I hope we’ll learn from this tragic time, and that when this is over Venice will be able to strike a balance between tourist crowds and cleanliness.”

A European Space Agency-backed programme has already shown pollution in sharp decline over northern Italy.

They include significant reductions in NO2 levels in Venice and other major Italian cities such as Milan, Turin and Bologna.

There are also signs of falling NO2 levels in Rome, although the quarantine measures have not been in place for so long there.

A spokesperson for the Venice mayor’s office said: “The water now looks clearer because there is less traffic on the canals, allowing the sediment to stay at the bottom of the water.”

He added: “The air, however, is less polluted since there are fewer vaporetti and boat traffic than usual because of the restricted movement of residents.”

People have welcomed the fish as a sign of light in the darkness of the pandemic.

Air quality has also improved in Venice.

In November Venice was hit by its worst flooding in 50 years. This resulted in damage worth hundreds of millions of euros.

The city is also struggling with unsustainable over-tourism.

It has also had problems with the sinking of its historical buildings into the water and a dwindling population.

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