Venice canals have turned a fluorescent green and no one knows why

But it's not the first time that the canal has been 'painted' green.
Sejal Sharma
A patch of water in Venice canals has turned green
A patch of water in Venice canals has turned green


The famed Venice canals have been hit with another mysterious development three months after it was reported that they had run dry on account of climate change.

This time, a patch in the canals has turned a shade of fluorescent green. And no one has any idea why.

It reminded us of the Chicago River, which is intentionally died green every year in celebration of St Patrick's Day. But Sunday wasn't St Patrick's Day, and these two water bodies are separated by a distance of over 4,500 miles.

A debate on how the canals turned green overnight is rife on Twitter, with people speculating that it could be a result of eco-vandalism or an overgrowth of algae. The former hasn’t been ruled out since no environmental groups have taken responsibility yet, reported CNN.

“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 Luca Zaia, President of the Veneto region in Italy.

CNN spoke to the local prefect spokesperson, who said that water samples had been taken from the site, and the CCTV surveillance tapes around the area are being reviewed. An emergency meeting to investigate the cause of the green water had also been called by the local authorities.

The green patch can be reportedly seen near the Rialto Bridge, and based on the images posted on social media, it appears to be spreading. The operation of gondola rides, which people use to move through the city and are a favorite among tourists, hasn’t seemed to halt.

Not the first time that the canal has been colored green

According to the Met Museum, Argentine artist García Uriburu on June 19, 1968, dyed the canal waters green on the occasion of the 34th Venice Biennale. He pulled off the stunt to promote ecological consciousness as a critical part of culture and bring attention to the relationship between nature and civilization. 

The dye gradually disappeared amid low tides. He used a fluorescent dye called Fluorescein, which is ecologically harmless. In an interview with the Italian daily La Repubblica, Maurizio Vesco of the Regional Agency for Environmental Protection confirmed that Fluorescein could have caused the green patch.

Vesco further said that the powder is used to track the flow of the water, and the usual dosage is one spoonful. However, looking at the patch of water that has turned a vibrant green, it’s possible that over 1 kg of Fluorescein may have been used. "I find it hard to believe that it was an incident... and that a kilo of fluorescein was casually released into the canal," he said.

Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron
Job Board