Mother of Contamination

Italy, 2012

Venice is one of the bizarre cities in the world, ancient and half of it under the water. Each year, thousands of people visit the city. Tourism provides a major part in local economic growth. But inhabitants are destroying the beautiful place with ‘so-called’ economical progress.

In 1869, Venice was annexed by the Kingdom of Italy. During the period, a new port named ‘Porto Marghera’ was built near the station. The purpose was economic triumph.

Because of environmental casualties by petrol-chemical industries, Porto Marghera is known as the “mother of all contamination” in Italy. The system led the people living and working around the large Italian chemical industries to go against the environment for their survival.

Between 1930 and1940, many artificial canals were dug. Since then, these canals are being used for industrial needs. More than 4000 hectares of lands were dug in less than sixty years.

The beauty of the city heavily depends on the sea. The tides are benefiting the renewal of the waters. But the tides can be catastrophic if the lagoon system is separated from the artificial canals and lands. The tides can destroy the city and its precarious beauty.

The richness of the lagoon environment is one of the four protected marshes in Europe. The presence of industries in Porto Marghera reconciles the water of the lagoon very seriously. Fifty out of 150 chemical and chemical-petroleum industries produce wastage and dump it in the sea.

Uncountable amount of toxic substances are visible in the lagoon water. During a recent research, led, zinc and dioxin were found in the lagoon. The research found the lagoon as a private dump for many industries.

Because of shortage of oxygen under the water, in recent years, people found dead fishes in the lagoon. Workers of the adjacent areas were also suffering from fatal diseases including lung cancer.

After nearly half a century of industrial activities impact on environment, the lagoon is now highly contaminated. The research by Greenpeace showed the petro-chemical industries were responsible for a strong dioxin contamination.

The need for preventive interventions is a priority now.

The most serious threat to Venice is tidal surge, the risk of going under the sea level. Human intervention, especially during the last century, ensured that this disaster could truly be realized.

The polluted lagoon water has also a harmful effect on the foundations of homes, buildings and streets. Water level has now crossed the waterproof Istrian stone, which is located above the foundations. Buildings and palaces are crumbling day by day, as the water level is now reaching the surface.

The earth being submerged by the sea is the greatest danger. It is slowly happening.

The beautiful ancient Venice is not out of this danger.