These days, everything we hear when we turn on the TV or read online terrifies us. Yet, there is good news that can restore our hope that, eventually, everything will go back to normal.
Since the shutdown of Wuhan, it has been reported that air pollution was dramatically reduced, and it seems that Italy has at least something to be happy about in these dark times.
Apparently, the environment benefits from our social isolation. Scientists agree that the levels of NO2 are significantly lower, and the air becomes clearer.
In Wuhan, the outbreak started back in December, and the sky which is usually dangerously high in air pollution, has turned blue, a change attributed to the pause of factory work and travel bans.
Venice, one of the top touristic destinations worldwide, has benefited from the reduced mass tourism and travel, closure of museums and the postponement of the Venice Architecture Biennale, and the lockdown of the entire country too.
Residents have witnessed fish swimming in the crystal clear canals. The timelapse video filmed from space by the European Space Agency (ESA) confirmed that air pollution is drastically decreased.
Claus Zehner, who manages the satellite which took the photos over the Po Valley region, the Copernicus Sentinel-5P, said that they believe the positive change has come as a result of the reduced activity at factories and less traffic:
“Although there could be slight variations in the data due to cloud cover and changing weather, we are very confident that the reduction in emissions that we can see coincides with the lockdown in Italy causing less traffic and industrial activities.”
The water in the canals in Venice is typically murky, and now, it has become incredibly clear. Many were even surprised to see the fish living and swimming in it.
Photos of the clean canals have been posted to the Facebook group “Clean Venice”, with a caption:
“Incredible images of the Rio dei Ferali, behind San Marco square, usually cloudy. Nature reclaims its spaces. Less traffic, less discharges.”
Yet, Venice mayor’s office debunked the rumors that the fish in the canals are visible due to the changed and improved quality of water, and a spokesman explained that this “miracle” is caused “because there is less traffic on the canals, allowing the sediment to stay at the bottom. Otherwise, boat traffic “usually brings sediment to the top of the water’s surface.”