Clear Water in Venice and Cleaner Air in China Reported During Coronavirus Pandemic

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As the world bands together to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the air and water quality in areas where it is normally polluted is improving considerably, authorities said. 

Italy, which has the highest number of cases of the coronavirus outside of China, is seeing clearer water in Venice because the sediment from the normal traffic on the canals has ceased. 

Italy has mandated a full nationwide quarantine in order to control the virus spreading and due less people on the canals and walkways of the normally heavily tourist area. 

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

The air quality there has also gotten better according to the spokesman. 

"The air, however, is less polluted since there are less vaporetti and boat traffic than usual because of the restricted movement of residents," he said.

A public Facebook group called “Venezia Pulita,” which translates to “Polluted Venice,” has shared throughout the lockdown updated photos of the cleaner canals. 

Swans, fish and even dolphins have been seen in the canals. 

 

Since the first cases of coronavirus in the country were reported in February, nearly 3,000 Italians have died, while doctors continue to deal with over 31,000 confirmed cases. 

Italy is not the only place experiencing cleaner air quality. China’s Hubei province is seeing blue skies for the first time in a while, as factories have been forced to close due to the fast-spreading virus.

The province had a 21.5% increase of good air quality days, China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment said.

The isolation and restrictions on travel in the country have led to reduced use of coal, causing less carbon dioxide to be released into the air. 

"As a measure that took place effectively overnight, this is more dramatic than anything else that I've seen in terms of the impact on emissions," said Lauri Myllyvirta, lead analyst at Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) told CNN. 

Since Feb. 3 and March 3, carbon dioxide emissions have been down 25% in the area.

Coronavirus was first reported in China in late 2019 and since the World Health Organization has confirmed there are over 81,000 cases and over 3,000 fatalities. 

The World Health Organization has reported there are 153, 517 cases of the virus globally. 

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