An investigation is underway by the authorities in Venice following the emergence of a patch of fluorescent green water in the well-known Grand Canal on Sunday morning.
“This morning a patch of phosphorescent green liquid appeared in the Grand Canal of Venice, reported by some residents near the Rialto Bridge.”
“The prefect has called an urgent meeting with the police to investigate the origin of the liquid,” tweeted the president of the Veneto region, Luca Zaia.
The spokesperson for the local prefect informed the media that that they promptly collected water samples, reviewed CCTV footage, and questioned local gondoliers and boat operators about any suspicious activity.
They then called an emergency meeting to look into the origin of the green water, mentioning that no environmental group has claimed involvement.
The verdant blob was first detected around 9:30 a.m. CET (14:30 GMT+7) and gradually expanded, as evident from several pictures shared on social media, featuring gondolas, water taxis, and water bus boats gliding through the emerald substance.
City councilor Andrea Pegoraro swiftly pointed fingers at environmental activists who have been targeting Italian cultural heritage sites in recent times.
When asked if they were responsible for the green water, Ultima Generazione, the group that recently dumped charcoal into Rome’s Trevi Fountain, responded, “It wasn’t us.”
The Italian fire department announced via Twitter that they were aiding by providing “samples and technical assistance” to ARPA Veneto, the regional body in charge of monitoring the environmental health of the Grand Canal.
The agency is “conducting analysis to determine the substance in the water.”
Various speculations have appeared on the internet, including possibilities of algae or an illegal substance dispersed in the canal.
This isn’t the first instance of the Grand Canal in Venice undergoing a colour change.
In 1968, Nicolás García Uriburu, an Argentine artist, turned the canal water green using a fluorescent dye called Fluorescein at the annual Venice Biennale.
This act was intended to raise awareness about ecological issues and the interplay between nature and civilization.
This unusual colouration occurs as the city is observing the Vogalonga boat event, devised to combat wave motion and reestablish Venetian traditions.
It also aims to promote environmental and architectural awareness, coinciding with the Biennale architecture event, which commenced the previous weekend.