Culture War? Patch of Venice Canal Turns Mysteriously Green; Activist Groups Under Lens

Venice, known for its picturesque waterways, experienced a strange phenomenon on Sunday when waters in parts of its canal system turned fluorescent green. While authorities are unsure of what caused the colour change, an investigation has been launched. The main canal turned fluorescent green near the Rialto bridge on Sunday, prompting authorities to investigate the cause.

Venice canal

Based on the preliminary analysis of the sample, officials believe it is the result of a coloring organic compound used for water inspections or caving. The release of fluorescein, a harmless dye commonly used to track the flow of water, is also suspected by authorities. "There is no danger of pollution from the fluorescent green patch that appeared in the waters of Venice yesterday morning, but the risk of emulation is concerning."

The regional environmental protection agency received samples of the altered waters and is working to identify the substance that caused them to change color, according to a tweet from the department.

Activist Groups

The incident echoed recent incidents in Italy in which environmental groups colored monuments, including using vegetable charcoal to turn the waters of Rome's Trevi fountain black in protest of fossil fuels. However, unlike in previous cases, no activist group has claimed responsibility for what occurred in Venice.

The Italian media reported that local police were examining CCTV to determine whether the release might have been a stunt to coincide with the Volgalonga regatta taking place this weekend.

According to CNN, the verdant blob was first noticed at around 9.30 am CET and grew slowly. City councilman Andrea Pegoraro immediately blamed environmental activists who have been attacking Italian cultural heritage sites in recent months. Theories about the color change abound on social media. While some blamed it on climate change and the environment, others believe it was caused by algae.

Venice saw another unusual sight in February when the canals around the city experienced low tides. It was so large that water taxis, ambulances, and gondolas struggled to get from one place to another. Many canals eventually dried up, creating a drought-like situation in the city. The causes ranged from a lack of rain to a full moon, which caused sea currents.