It's not easy bein' green.
Everyone from city residents to tourists were puzzled when a stretch of the picturesque waters of the Grand Canal in Venice took on a shade of lurid neon green over the weekend — but CNN reports, fortunately, that an investigation by local officials determined that a non-toxic chemical for infrastructure testing was responsible for the wild color shift.
Venetians happened upon the "anomalous fluorescent green color" early Sunday morning, prompting firefighters, police and environmental officials to come to the Rialto Bridge area of the Grand Canal and collect samples for testing, according to a report from a regional environmental agency. Before getting test results, officials told CNN they were concerned that eco-terrorists may have been responsible for the incident, and they're still suspicious the incident could be related to activism.
The initial spot of green water expanded its reach in the ensuing hours, making for surreal scenes in the famed waterway during the day. Rubber-necking tourists snapped photos, while gondoliers plied their trade in the waves that appeared as if someone had poured barrels of absinthe into the water.
Investigators eventually confirmed that the green color was due to fluorescein — yes, as in "fluorescent"— a compound used for eye exams as well water infrastructure studies like identifying leaks.
"The results of the ecotoxicological analyzes did not show the presence of toxicity in the samples analysed," they reassured the public.
The investigators told CNN that it's not clear how the chemical ended up in the canal, but it didn't seem to be an accident. Police have not ruled out mischief from environmental activists, and further test results on the samples are expected later.
This isn't the first time Venetian waters have turned green from fluorescein. Artist Nicolás García Uriburu dyed the waters in 1968 to coincide with the 34th Venice Biennale, in a stunt "aimed to bring attention to the relationship between nature and civilization and to promote ecological consciousness as a critical part of culture."
More on Venice: Venice Looks Pretty Alarming With Its Canals Drained.
Share This Article