Clear waters under the bridge!

Admits all the news relating to the death and destruction caused due to the Novel Corona Virus, there lay a small article tucked inconspicuously in a corner of the newspaper announcing that the canals of Venice had beautifully transformed themselves! Our Earth is rejuvenating herself in this man-made lock down phase. Finally, a silver lining to this pandemic! This little bit of positive news is seen as a welcome break in times of such global panic.

Italy, the country that has been badly hit by the pandemic, has closed all non-essential businesses and as a result the nature is taking over! Since the lock down of Venice – Italy’s most popular tourist destination – the canals have begun to clear up and a dolphin was spotted in the canal for the first time in nearly 60 years! Without the pollution from motorboats and a mere reduction in the number of gondolas plying in between the canals, the marine life is replenishing itself, the fishes are visible, and the swans have returned.



Having visited Venice just a few months ago, I remember standing on a bridge and looking down at the murky canal waters. We were told that because of a storm warning the footfall of the tourists arriving that day in Venice was less than 50% of the usual. Yet still, the sheer amount of people clumping in and out of the vaporetti and gondolas was overwhelming! The “tourist-less” photos of Venice that have surfaced over the social media are really heart-warming, especially after having seen the insane number of crowds at the exact same places. If I return to Venice now maybe I will not be as disappointed.

Over-fishing, shipping, plastic pollution and the potential mining of seabed are some of the threats that are already affecting our marine ecosystems. A heartbreaking eye opener of the extent of oceanic pollution was when the Great Barrier Reef was officially pronounced dead. Along with it there were many disturbing images of animals and fishes stuck with various pieces of trash and plastic that caused entanglement, starvation, drowning, and strangulation. Personally, I think that was our lowest point.



It’s said that the reef is recovering. Whether it’s because we are being a tad bit more cautious of our actions (which I highly doubt) or because life just finds a way, I don’t know. But we need to take serious actions towards a more sustainable existence.

Probably the only good thing of this global lockdown is that in addition to the news from Venice, there are quite a few reports claiming a considerable decline in pollution and greenhouse gases. Images pulled out from NASA’s satellite have captured a dramatic drop in the air pollution over the major Chinese cities. The usually smog filled skies have cleared away to reflect the crystal blue hue. The cities where factories have shut down and vehicle traffic has come to a halt are experiencing a clean change.

It’s quite fascinating to note that just a few weeks of no human interference can bring out such changes in our ecological systems. These changes though not as drastic as their pandemic causes are definitely an eye-opener for all of us. If there is one thing this pandemic has proven it is that human activity is the foremost cause of pollution on earth. This is proof that if we want, the human race can work together towards a sustainable future. The slowdown of human activities has had a positive impact on the planet. Let’s hope that this “break” will force all of us to make significant changes in our lifestyle. If not then as always, – quoting my favourite line from one of my favourite movies – “Life will find a way”…



PS: the Dolphins seem to have returned to the Mumbai harbour as well. So good things are happening nearer to home too!



Though it’s true that we should not see this climatic changes due to the corona virus as some sort of a blessing in disguise. Because it’s not. Simply because the pollution has gone down doesn’t mean that we have in any way solved the actual problems. But nonetheless, let’s share some positivity while we can!



© 2020 Ashwini Nawathe, Kaleidoscope of My Life
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