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Fish Have Returned To Venice's Canals As City Is In Coronavirus Lockdown

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Fish Have Returned To Venice's Canals As City Is In Coronavirus Lockdown

Even in the darkest of times, glimmers of light break through.

That's happening right now in Venice, where wildlife is returning to the city's canals as the COVID-19 quarantine causes the waters to clear.

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With the halt of travel and tourism, closure of museums and the postponement of the Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice's usually murky waterways have become crystal clear in places.

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As the impact of mass tourism is slowly undone, residents have filmed schools of fish appearing in the canals and swans gliding through the water.

Italy is the country second worst impacted by the coronavirus, with 31, 506 reported cases and 2,503 deaths at the time of writing.

Anxious citizens have been placed on lockdown nationwide.

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Faced with such testing times, stories like the return of fish to Venice's canals signal a small silver lining.

Real estate agent and life-long Venetian Marco Capovilla, 40, filmed several schools of tiny fish swimming in clean waters which were previously muddy and filled with debris.

Marco commented that he "had never seen" such clear water in his home city, and added that it was a "striking" view.

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Marco said: "During these days, traffic in Venice has become almost absent.

"The city doesn't have sewers, so normally everything goes into the canals, including detergents and cosmetics.

Usually Venice's city waterways are muddied and polluted - but the coronavirus lockdown is causing the waters to clear (Credit: PA images)
Usually Venice's city waterways are muddied and polluted - but the coronavirus lockdown is causing the waters to clear (Credit: PA images)

"Thanks to the quarantine, we are experiencing a cleaner environment."

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Bank worker and local resident Martina Bettoni, 33, 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."

The Facebook page and Twitter account Venezia Pulita ('Clean Venice') has been sharing the videos created by local residents.

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"Incredible images of the Rio dei Ferali, behind San Marco Square, [which is] usually murky. Nature reclaims its spaces," reads the caption on one video.

For a city like Venice - whose heritage has been hugely impacted by mass tourism, pollution and rising water levels - stories of the return of wildlife are a cause for celebration in a deeply challenging time.

Featured Image Credit: Twitter / @ikaveri

Topics: News, Coronavirus, Wildlife, Italy

Mary-Jane Wiltsher
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