The notoriously polluted waters of Venice’s canals have become so clear that fish have been seen, with thousands of people locked at home due to coronavirus.
Italy has been the worst-hit country outside of China, with nearly 30,000 confirmed cases and 2,100 deaths.
Northern regions have been particularly affected, including the popular tourist city of Venice.
But while the streets have been emptied with visitors and residents, the now-quiet canals have seen a dramatic reduction in pollution – with the results nothing short of amazing.
For years, the water in the city has become a murky brown colour after a constant flow of ferries and boats.
Footage circulating online, though, shows how the water is now crystal clear – allowing for fish to be seen for the first time in living memory.
Swans have also returned to the city and there are even unconfirmed reports that dolphins have been spotted.
Venetian local Marco Capovilla said he had “never seen” the water so clear.
The 40-year-old estate agent said: “The city doesn't have sewers, so normally everything goes into the canals, including detergents and cosmetics.
“Thanks to the quarantine, we are experiencing a cleaner environment.”
Bank worker Martina Bettoni, 33, said: “Seeing so many fish in the canals was extremely rare before the quarantine.
“I hope we'll learn from this tragic time, and that when this is over Venice will be able to strike a balance between tourist crowds and cleanliness.”
It is not just the water quality that has improved amid coronavirus.
Satellite footage from the European Space Agency has shown there have been significant reductions in NO2 levels in the north of the country.
“Most of its emissions sources are located at the surface and are generated by human activities such as traffic, production of energy, residential heating, industries,” the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service.
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