Venice threatened by ‘natural’ pollution: City Council requests urgent intervention

Over the last couple of days some Venetian waters have been turning green due to an invasion of algae, as can be seen in the picture below:

Algae has affected the area near the Liberty Bridge, Venice’s internal canals (including parts of the Grand Canal) and islands, especially near the beach area of the Lido. Not only does algae make the waters smelly; it can also damage ancient monuments and structures, cause hygienic problems, threaten fish, various marine life and other vegetation. The local press has raised the alarm and the two articles below provide further information:

La grande fioritura delle alghe Canali invasi, cattivo odore nei rii

Laguna e rii infestati dalle alghe: una marea verde, rischio invasione

There is significant concern due to the formidable problems Venice experienced in 1989 following an invasion of poisonous algae. Then Venice became clogged with algae which spawned an infestation of small flies that filled the city to such an extent that flights and trains to Venice were suspended for several days due to poor visibility. Dozens of harvester boats were needed to clear the algae. This crisis was reported in the New York Times:

Now, Venice Is Under Attack by Giant Algae

Thankfully, the recent invasion of algae is less extensive, a different form and is unlikely to have such a toxic impact. Venice Council municipal executive and Venice Green Party leader, Gianfranco Bettin, reassured the local population that the situation was under control before the weekend starting 5 May 2012. Then on 8 May, Venice City Council issued a press release that it was requesting special intervention by the Venice Water Authority and Veritas to clear the algae:

Presenza di alghe in laguna e nei canali. Il Comune chiede a Veritas e al Magistrato alle Acque un intervento specifico per togliere le alghe

This needs to be dealt with urgently given the imminent America’s Cup boating event between 12-20 May 2012. As suggested in this blog one week ago, this event is not threatened by too many people coming to Venice to enjoy the racing and dining (as many environmentalists claim):


Given environmental compliants about pollution from cruise ships in the Venetian lagoon, it is important not to forget the threat of pollution from natural sources. It would be a sad irony if this event was spoilt by natural pollution.

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