What would a world without humans look like? As countries go under lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID–19, photos on social media suggest it might be a lot cleaner, for a start.
Most nonessential travel to countries in the European Union is banned and Italy, the epicenter of the outbreak on the continent, has closed all nonessential businesses. In Venice, the canals normally teeming with tourists and boat traffic are nearly empty. On social media, people are sharing photos and videos of clear water and wildlife rarely seen close to the city. For some, it was a small sign of hope as the country’s death toll rose above 2,500 on March 17.
Tornare a inquinare sarebbe un delitto: sfruttiamo questa scia per ripensare a come sviluppare la società in armonia con la natura pic.twitter.com/dH0PLqm4Q1
— Roberto Dupplicato (@duppli) March 16, 2020
😳 😳 😳 #venice
An unexpected side effect of the pandemic: 💧Water’s flowing through the canals of Venice is clear for the first time in forever.
🐟 🦢 The fish are visible, the swans returned pic.twitter.com/crWf4kdZ1M
— Aurel Boriçi (@AurelBoriciBT) March 18, 2020
The Venice mayor’s office told CNN that while the canals might look clearer than before the lockdown, the water quality hasn’t necessarily improved.
“The water now looks clearer because there is less traffic on the canals, allowing the sediment to stay at the bottom,” a spokesman told CNN. “It’s because there is less [of the] boat traffic that usually brings sediment to the top of the water’s surface.”
That’s not to say the lockdown hasn’t had any positive environmental effects for a city that months before was battling overtourism.
“The air, however, is less polluted since there are less vaporetti and boat traffic than usual because of the restricted movement of residents,” the spokesman said, referring to the public waterbus, the Vaporetto.
Italians have increasingly turned to social media to spread positivity in the weeks since lockdown measures were implemented. Videos of people singing in unison from their balconies have gone viral and even inspired U2 frontman Bono to release new music on his Instagram and Facebook pages.
Note: As reported on many news sites, the dolphin were not spotted in Venice. They were spotted in a different Italian city, in the canal of porto di Cagliari.
Via The Hill