Fish Return To Venice’s Canals As Water Becomes Cleaner During Coronavirus Lockdown

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 18 Mar 2020 10:36


As coronavirus dominates the headlines at the moment, it’s important to try and look for positives during these testing times.

Although people are less than thrilled about having to stay indoors while holidays are cancelled and the virus continues to spread, the planet seems to be responding to the fact that fewer people are on the streets, and less emissions are being polluted into the atmosphere.


We’ve already seen the visible effects of less pollution over northern Italy and China this week while the countries have been in lockdown, and now we’re seeing the positive effects it’s having on the canals of Venice, too.

Fish Return To Venice's Canals As Water Becomes Cleaner During Coronavirus LockdownPA Images

Where visitors and locals are usually greeted with fairly murky waters, as you can see in the image above, some parts of the canals are now crystal clear.

Videos and photographs taken over the past few days show that fish have returned to the clear waters of the canals, which connect with the Adriatic Sea.


A number of dolphins have even been spotted swimming by a dock in Cagliari, Sardinia, and it’s really quite spectacular to see.

Check it out here:


The clearing of Venice’s canals comes as activities have been put on hold during the COVID-19 quarantine, as people across Italy are urged to stay in their homes.


A clip, filmed by Venetian real estate agent Marco Capovilla, shows tiny fish swimming in the now-clear waters in the canals, which previously were filled with dirt and debris.

Marco said he ‘had never seen’ the canal waters so clear in the popular tourist destination, describing it as a ‘striking’ view.

Fish Return To Venice's Canals As Water Becomes Cleaner During Coronavirus Lockdown@ikaveri/Twitter

‘During these days, traffic in Venice has become almost absent,’ 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.’


Another Venice resident, Martina Bettoni, 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.’

Meanwhile, a tweet emerged spreading the good news of the clear waters. While the two images of the canal appear to be taken in Venice, the bottom two images showing swans in the canal were actually taken in Burano, which is an island in the Venetian Lagoon, which the animals had never left.

It comes as satellite images from the European Space Agency showed a drastic decrease in air pollution over the country, following the COVID-19 self-isolation period.


Before and after images, which are based on data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, use colour to show just how much air pollution – particularly nitrogen dioxide emissions – has declined over the country between January 1 and March 11 of this year.

It’s okay to not panic. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our coronavirus campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization on coronavirus, click here.

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Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: News, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Italy, Pollution