Sea life is flourishing in Venice's now crystal clear canals

A video posted by zoologist Andrea Mangoni captured the serene beauty of nature thriving in the once murky waterways of the Venice canals. Now virtually crystal clear, residents have been rediscovering the beauty and ecology that surrounds them.

Reduced traffic in Venice canals due to lockdown
© Getty Images
Reduced traffic in Venice canals due to lockdown

Venice sits off the coast of Italy in the Venetian Lagoon, a waterbed that only has a max depth of approximately 22 meters. The canals that weave in and out of Venice itself have depths ranging from just a few meters, while the ones surrounding this city can have a depth of 10 meters or more.

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Venice, despite its beauty and rich history, has been surrounded with controversy regarding the cleanliness of its waterways. They more or less act as an open-air sewage system that surrounds the city. While some filtration systems have been put into place, it's speculated that some 90 per cent of the waste is still discarded through its canals.

Many tend to think that this is the reason Venice's canals have started to become so hard to see through, however this method of sewage disposal has been in place for centuries, yet the problem with the clarity of the waters has been a more recent one.

It is true that more unnatural waste has been dumped into the canals by some more... disrespectful people. Though their actions are highly condemned it's difficult to stop them from doing so. Nevertheless, human waste, as well as garbage, are at times naturally filtered out of the city through the rising and lowering tides.

In fact, the real root of the problem with Venice's canals is actually a more modern one... traffic. While Venice itself only has a population of around 270,000 this ancient city sees a staggering amount of tourists, some 30 million per year. And the main way to get around the city? By boat of course! With the constant movement of water caused by the cities taxi's, buses and personal pleasure craft, the bed of the canal is constantly being disturbed. With the cities inner canals only being a few meters deep, this can cause the waters to be nearly impossible to see through.

So now, with the coronavirus lockdown in full effect, the movement has been restricted, tourist numbers have dropped to an all-time low of none and the water has been incredibly still for some time. Sparking the city's residents to rediscover the beauty that lies at their feet.

Check out the video above to see some recent footage of the natural ecosystem that is now thriving in the undisturbed waterways of Venice.

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