Mystery of Venice’s green canals is solved! Bizarre colouring was NOT caused by eco protesters – with sewage workers to blame
- Previous reports said police were investigating a possible stunt by eco activists
- Authorities have now confirmed fluorescein in the water, used widely as a tracer
The world was left wondering why a stretch of Venice’s Grand Canal had turned bright green on Sunday, with police left to investigate a possible eco stunt.
But local authorities have now revealed the real reason why a part of Venice’s famed canal network shone a luminous lime green for a period on May 28.
The spectacular transformation was not part of a grand political stunt but was caused by a substance used to test how well wastewater networks are working.
The Regional Agency for Environmental Prevention and Protection of Veneto said fluorescein had shown up in samples taken, without specifying its origin.
They also confirmed the results of their analysis had ‘not shown the presence of toxic elements’, reassuring perplexed residents and tourists.
A stretch of Venice’s Grand Canal turned bright green on Sunday, prompting police to investigate amid speculation it was a stunt by environmental activists
The change in colour noticed by residents raised eyebrows, with police looking into whether Sunday’s development could be a protest by climate change activists, according to local daily La Nuova Venezia.
It is not the first time the Grand Canal has turned green.
In 1968, Argentine artist Nicolas Garcia Uriburu dyed the waters of Venice’s Grand Canal green with a fluorescent dye during the 34th Venice Biennale in a stunt to promote ecological awareness.
Fluorescein is an organic compound and dye that comes in different colours and is widely used as a tracer, allowing experts to track the flow and direction of fluids.
Research shows the substance has low toxicity. A 2014 risk assessment into the use of fluorescein in public fountains in Sheffield – used to turn the water yellow ahead of Yorkshire’s festival celebrating the Tour de France – found ‘the dye poses no risk to members of the public or to Sheffield City Council employees’.
It also concluded the architectural structure of the fountains was not at risk, nor would there be any environmental damage.
On Sunday, gondoliers could be seen punting through Venice’s historic waters while tourists took photographs.
The green was seen to stretch from the Rialto Bridge up and along part of the Canal.
The Vigili del Fuoco, Italy’s fire and rescue service, said it was helping the regional environmental protection agency take samples for testing.
The colour was first spotted by local residents, the Veneto region’s president Luca Zaia said on Twitter.
‘The prefect has called an urgent meeting with the police to investigate the origin of the liquid,’ he said at the time.
The colourful water was seen to stretch from the Rialto Bridge (above) up and along part of the Canal (Pictured is the comparison between the water normally and with the green colour)
The colour was first spotted by local residents, the Veneto region’s president Luca Zaia said on Twitter
Images on social media show a bright patch of green in the canal along an embankment lined with restaurants
Images on social media showed a bright patch of green in the canal along an embankment lined with restaurants.
On Twitter, Zaia wrote: ‘This morning in #CanalGrande of #Venezia a patch of phosphorescent green liquid appeared, reported by some residents near the Rialto Bridge.
‘The prefect has convened an urgent meeting with the police force to investigate the origin of the liquid.’
A video, seemingly taken by a someone in a gondola, shows the bright green water as people continue to paddle along.