The neon-green water that mysteriously flowed in Venice’s Grand Canal over the weekend caused quite a stir among locals and tourists alike. It turns out, reports from CNN this week revealed that the cause of the green coloring was fluorescein – a chemical used to detect underwater structural leaks.
The phosphorescent green water was first noticed near the iconic Rialto Bridge on Sunday, May 28th, spreading for several hundred yards. This is not the first time that fluorescein has been used in the Grand Canal; Back in 1968, eco-artist Nicolas Garcia Uriburu used the chemical to turn it green in an effort to promote environmental awareness.
Fluorescein is a water-soluble dye that emits a bright green color when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays. It is commonly used in aquarium tanks, swimming pools, and marine waterways to check for structural leaks. It is also used in the medical industry, as it is easily detectable in X-ray and MRI scans.
Although the origins of this particular batch of fluorescein remains a mystery, it is possible that it was used by local authorities in a leak detection study. The idea being that its distinct color would make it easier to identify if there were any visible signs of untreated sewage or other pollutants entering the canal.
Alternatively, it is possible that the fluorescein could have been used for an artistic or creative project without the permission of the local government. While it may have provided an interesting look for a few days, the use of this type of dye is considered illegal under Italian maritime laws.
Whatever the cause, the neon-green water of the Grand Canal has become something of a legend, and will be remembered for years to come. It serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting the environment and preserving the iconic waterways of this beautiful city. Hopefully, the mysterious green water will remain a one-time occurrence, and Venice can continue to enjoy its clear waters for many years to come.