Coronavirus Shutdowns Could Lead to Unintended Climate Benefits

Amid coronavirus lockdown, Italy sees unexpected changes in environment

With the humans inside amid a nationwide lockdown, the canals in Venice, Italy have had time to settle.

On social media, people shared photos of the uncharacteristically clear water, filled with fish.

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The environmental factor has been an unintentional silver lining as the virus continues to hit Italy hard.

A spokesperson for Venice’s mayor told CNN that the water pollution hasn’t actually improved amid the lockdown, the slowdown in boat traffic and activity has just given the canals time to clear.

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

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However, scientists have documented an improvement in Italy’s air quality.

"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.

The environmental news site, EcoWatch, reports that satellite images have shown a sharp decline in air pollution over areas with quarantine measures.

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