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Authorities try to determine why Venice canals turned green | News

Italian authorities are investigating the cause of unusual water pigmentation around the iconic Rialto Bridge.

The waters of Venice’s main canal have turned fluorescent green in the area near Italy’s famous Rialto Bridge, and authorities are seeking to determine the cause.

On Sunday, Italian fire services released a video of one of the boats navigating the phosphorescent waters. “The green color of the Grand Canal was discovered by the fire service this morning when we intervened with ARPAV to collect samples and analyze the unusual colour,” it said.

The Veneto region’s environmental protection agency, ARPAV, said it had received samples of the altered waters and was working to identify the substance that changed the color of the waters.

According to the ANSA news agency, the governor of Venice has called an emergency meeting of the police force to understand what happened and study possible countermeasures.

The incident echoes recent events in Italy, where environmental groups have been painting the monument. However, unlike previous cases, no radical group has come forward to claim responsibility for what happened in Venice.

Environmental activists climbed Rome’s Trevi Fountain last week and poured a black liquid made from diluted plant charcoal into the water.

The group of about 10 people also stood inside the fountain holding a banner that read “We Won’t Pay for Fossil Fuels,” a reference to the campaign to end public investment and fossil fuel subsidies.

Gondola sailing along Venice's historic Grand Canal
A gondola sails down Venice’s historic Grand Canal as a sheet of phosphorescent green liquid spreads out [Luigi Costantini/AP]

In March, activists sprayed orange paint on the walls of Palazzo Vecchio, home to Florence’s town hall, in an effort to underscore the need to tackle the climate crisis.

Venice’s waters turned green once, during the 1968 Venice Biennale, when Argentine artist Nicolas Garcia Uriburu sprinkled nontoxic bright green fluorescent sodium across the Grand Canal.

As part of an artistic initiative to draw attention to worsening water pollution, the pigment turns bright green when synthesized by microbes in the water.

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