Venice canals impress Internet with pristine waters with fish & sauntering swans after tourism drops

Fewer humans and boats equals to lesser trash and pollutants.

Ashley Tan| March 19, 04:49 PM

Certain countries have seen a rather dramatic drop in pollution ever since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak.

As businesses and factories shut down and citizens seclude themselves at home, countries like China have experienced a sharp decline in polluting gases, evident from NASA satellite images.

It seems Venice, Italy is another location experiencing the same unintended side effects of the virus outbreak.

Clearer waters

Photos posted to Twitter, which have gone viral, show clear, almost pristine waters in the canals of the city.

The tweet claimed that this was the "first time in forever" the waters have been so clear.

Here's the difference before and after the outbreak.


Photo from Marco Capovilla / FB


Photo from Marco Capovilla / FB

The waters in the same area are much less murky.

Wildlife returned?

Photos posted to a Facebook page called Venezia Pulita, which means "Clean Venice", allegedly show wildlife returning to the canals and nature reclaiming urban habitats.

Schools of fish can be spotted within the clear depths of the waters.

Photo from @ikaveri / Twitter

Some have even claimed that swans have returned to the clean canals.

Here are some truly idyllic photos of the birds swimming in the deserted canals.

Photo from Marco Contessa / FB

Photo from Marco Contessa / FB

However, some Twitter users pointed out that these swans have always been there.

Perhaps the swans finally became more visible without the usual human crowds at this popular tourist spot.

Change due to lesser human activity

Italy, which has seen one of the world's highest number of Covid-19 cases, has been on lockdown since Mar. 10, in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

This was after the extension of "red zone" restrictions from the north of Italy to the entire country.

And Venice, which is one of the country's biggest tourist attractions with its famous gondola rides, has undoubtedly seen a dramatic decline in human traffic and volume.

This is what the streets look like now (first video)—a ghost town—as compared to the bustling waterways in the past (second video), where gondolas could hardly squeeze their way through.

Following the virality of these photos, Venice's mayor came forward to clarify that the cleaner waters in the canal are not due to improved water quality, reported CNN.

Boat traffic which typically churns up trash, mud and pollutants, are now next to absent in the canals, allowing sediments to settle at the bottom and making the waters clearer and less murky.

Air quality in the city has also improved from the reduced boat and car traffic.

Good for the environment but not the economy

While all might be good for the environment though, Italy has been undergoing an economic shutdown as a result of the outbreak and lockdown.

Factories, restaurants and retail businesses have shuttered—this situation could lead the country into a potential recession.

According to Bloomberg, the country's public debt stands at 2.4 trillion euros (S$3.7 trillion), almost 135 per cent of gross domestic product.

Top photo from Marco Capovilla / FB and @ikaveri / Twitter