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Italy: Water in Venice's Grand Canal goes bright green

May 28, 2023

The mysterious green liquid does not pose a health threat to people in Venice, local police were quoted as saying by Italy's ANSA news agency.

Firefighter looks over section of Venice Grand Canal near Rialto Bridge after the waters have turned fluorescent green
The fire department helped collect samples of the waterImage: Vigili del Fuoco/AP/picture-alliance

Waters in Venice's main canal turned fluorescent green on Sunday, Italy's fire department said.

The regional environmental protection agency ARPAV collected samples of the colored water with the help of the fire department, they added. The agency's experts are now probing for the cause of the change in color.

The Interior Ministry's representative in Venice, Michele di Bari, has called an emergency meeting to devise possible countermeasures, Italy's ANSA news agency said.

The change in color, according to to preliminary probes by ARPAV and the police, was caused by a type of dye often used to trace water leaks, ANSA reported.

A Venetian gondola sails past a patch of bright green water
Police were looking into the reasons for the incidentImage: Luigi Costantini/AP/picture-alliance

Police said that the liquid did not pose a threat to the health of local residents, according to the agency.

The bright green area stretched from the Rialto Bridge to part of the Grand Canal. The head of the Veneto region, Luca Zaia, said on Twitter that the green color was first reported by local residents.

Police said that they were investigating the incident.

No person or group immediately claimed responsibility for the Grand Canal turning green. Last weekend, however, an environmentalist group used vegetable charcoal to turn the waters of the Trevi fountain in Rome black to protest the government's climate policies.

The latest incident also sparked comparisons with an event in 1968, Argentine artist Nicolas Garcia Uriburu dyed the waters of the city's Grand Canal green in order to promote ecological awareness during the Venice Biennale.

sdi/dj (AFP, Reuters, AP)