Venice canals run clear, dolphins appear in Italy’s waterways amid coronavirus lockdown

20 March 2020, 17:30 | Updated: 3 April 2020, 08:42

By Rosie Pentreath

Venice is the clearest it has been in 60 years, and dolphins have been spotted down in southern Italy, swimming in clearer water. Every cloud...

The canals in Venice are clearer than they have been for a long time, due to lockdown measures taken in the face of coronavirus.

As countries and their governments are urging their populations more and more to ‘self-isolate’ and stop all non-essential travel abroad, tourist “honey traps” including Venice are seeing hardly any visitors.

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And so, in Venice’s case, there is less need for transportation of any kind to be running, and the canals with less boats are coming up clean, clear and beautiful.

“The water now looks clearer because there is less traffic on the canals, allowing the sediment to stay at the bottom,” a spokesperson for the Venice mayoral office told CNN.

Read more: Quarantined Italian tenor sings ‘Nessun dorma’ from his balcony >

Venice canals run clear, dolphins appear in Italy’s waterways amid coronavirus lockdown
Venice canals run clear, dolphins appear in Italy’s waterways amid coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Getty/Twitter

He continued: “It’s because there is less boat traffic that usually brings sediment to the top of the water’s surface.”

So the water itself isn’t necessarily in any better condition or cleaner, but is less churned up. And it’s clarity seems to be to be attracting more creatures than usual. Swans and fish have even been spotted paddling and swimming around.

“Venice hasn’t seen clear canal water in a very long time,” Gianluca De Santis says in a Twitter post. “Nature just hit the reset button on us.”

And people have taken to the Venezia Pulita (‘Clean Venice’) Facebook Group to share photos and videos highlighting and celebrating the development.

Down in Cagliari’s port, in Sardinia, dolphins have even been spotted swimming around.

While the actual quality of the water in Venice isn’t better per se, the mayor’s spokesperson did point out to CNN that “The air is less polluted since there are fewer vaporetti and boat traffic than usual because of the restricted movement of residents.”

So while we’re all having a tough time adjusting to self-isolation measures, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the small silver lining and celebrate Mother Nature’s short breath of fresh air, unimpeded by our incessant global travel.