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30 March 2020, 13:39
During a coronavirus pandemic all non-essential travel has been banned - so what has this done for the environment? And are there really dolphins in the canals in Venice?
Coronavirus has forced many countries to go into lockdown, people to self-isolate and social distance and for a lot of non-essential travel to be cancelled - but could this be a good thing for the environment?
People have been giving plenty of ‘likes’ over on social media sites for the news the coronavirus lockdown has improved animal welfare and nature itself - especially for dolphins and swans in Venice, apparently.
The statement you may have seen on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter was: “Here's an unexpected side effect of the pandemic. The water flowing through the canals of Venice is clear for the first time in forever. The fish are visible, the swans returned.”
But are they true? Have swans and dolphins really returned to the Venice canals? Here’s what we know:
Boars in the middle of my hometown, dolphins in the port of Cagliari, ducks in the fountains in Rome, Venice canals have now clean water full of fishes. Air pollution dropped. Nature is reclaiming its spaces during quarantine in Italy. #COVID19 #COVIDー19 pic.twitter.com/dr6QILfF9V— Francesco Delrio (@Cosodelirante) March 15, 2020
Unfortunately this isn’t as true as everyone would like it to be.
While the lake is reportedly a lot clearer than usual due to the lack of boats, the dolphin picture you’ve been seeing was actually taken in Sardinia, hundreds of miles away in the Mediterranean Sea.
The swans featured in the viral post are in the Venice canals of Burano and while they are definitely there during the coronavirus pandemic, National Geographic has reported this isn’t unusual.