The novel coronavirus is causing panic worldwide, but one thing may benefit from the social isolation: the environment.
The COVID-19 outbreak hit countries like Italy really hard, forcing country officials to intervene and ask citizens to go into lockdown.
As a result, people stayed indoors, business shuttered their windows, cars stayed parked and families hunkered down to protect themselves from getting sick.
The Venice canal, typically bogged down with tourists in gondolas and cruise ships, is now crystal clear, according to photos shared by Twitter user @FolinAlberto.
Cruise ships are typically seen sailing into the Venice lagoon and have caused harmful levels of pollution, Euro Weekly News writes. Without them, the water has had a chance to clear.
A typical March would see nearly 700,000 people arrive in Venice on cruise ships or otherwise, the South China Morning Post reports.
The decline in tourism has brought “back the lagoon waters of ancient times, those of the post-war period, when it was even still possible to bathe in the waters of the canals,” according to local newspaper La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre.
Air quality has also approved in Italy.
Though social isolation has been difficult, it’s had a massively positive effect on CO2 emissions, according to European Space Agency data analyzed by the Washington Post.
Between Jan. 1 and March 12, concentrations of nitrogen dioxide fell — produced by cars and power plants — immensely, especially over Italy, according to the ESA’s Sentinel-5P satellite.
“I guess this is mostly diesel cars out of the road,” said Emanuele Massetti, an expert on the economics of climate change at Georgia Tech University, according to the Washington Post.