"It's because there is less boat traffic that usually brings sediment to the top of the water's surface."

 

By Cailey Rizzo
Updated April 08, 2020

Italy's lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic is not only keeping people safe, but it's giving the outdoors — which is typically flooded with tourists — a chance to recharge.

In photos posted to a Twitter account and Facebook group, “Venezia Pulita” which translates to "Clean Venice," locals are sharing pictures of the city’s water looking impossibly clean.

A view shows clear waters below the Bridge of Sighs in a Venice canal on March 18, 2020 as a result of the stoppage of motorboat traffic, following the country's lockdown within the new coronavirus crisis.
ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images

The phenomenon, however,  is not due to a decrease in pollution.

"The water now looks clearer because there is less traffic on the canals, allowing the sediment to stay at the bottom," a spokesperson for the Venice mayor’s office told CNN. "It's because there is less boat traffic that usually brings sediment to the top of the water's surface."

While the city’s water may not have suddenly become cleaner without constant visitation, the air quality has  also certainly improved. With fewer water taxis and boats ferrying the city’s tourists and residents along the canals, the air has become cleaner, the spokesperson said.

Related: This Video of Italians Singing in Solidarity Amid Coronavirus Isolation Is the Light We All Need Right Now

Venice shut down in February in the last days of its annual Carnival celebration when the coronavirus hit Italy and has become the epicenter of the outbreak with over 30,000 cases.

A view shows clearer waters by a gondola in a Venice canal on March 17, 2020 as a result of the stoppage of motorboat traffic, following the country's lockdown within the new coronavirus crisis.
ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images

Some social media users are hoping that the coronavirus shutdown could act as an “ecological reset” for the world’s busiest cities.

Last year, Venice was flooded, causing an estimated $5.5 million in damages to the city. Residents have been campaigning for reduced tourism in an effort to preserve the city’s infrastructure.

Correction (March 20, 2020): A previous version of this story mentioned that dolphins were found swimming in the canals and ports. According to National Geographic, the dolphins were actually filmed at a port in Sardinia, hundreds of miles away.

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