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SAVING VENICE

A visit to Venice would not be incomplete without a ride through the city’s dozens of canals aboard a gondola, getting a more central view of what is considered by many the most beautiful city in the world.

However recently the gondoliers of The Floating City, with their trademark striped tops and boating hats, have taken their love for Venice even further by diving into the canals in an effort to clean up the UNESCO city.

“It’s another world down there,” says gondolier Lorenzo Brunello. Since February, the cleaning efforts have amounted to over 2.5 tons of rubbish, including washing machine, bicycles, tires, television sets, radios, and telephones.

From this week alone, the trash collection near the famous Rialto bridge included a stove, fan, cassette player, computer monitor, and floor lamp.

A scuba diver of the Venice Gondolieri association dives in the water of Canal Grande, close to the Rialto bridge to collect waste of the canals of Venice. (Photo by Miguel Medina)

A scuba diver of the Venice Gondolieri association dives in the water of Canal Grande, close to the Rialto bridge to collect waste of the canals of Venice. (Photo by Miguel Medina)

“It’s something that we do for the city for free, because the city has given us so much,” Brunello says, adding that their night-time dives are difficult due to rising tides. The water taxi driver also says that he and his fellow gondoliers do such efforts “to make people aware of the problem, but also to do something tangible,” similar to the efforts done in rehabilitating Manila Bay and the Pasig River in the past year.

The gondoliers behind the clean-up project, Stefano Vio and Alessandro Zuffi, said they would host a monthly dive—involving six or seven gondoliers—until April next year inthe Grand Canal, which leads to Venice’s iconic Saint Mark’s Square.

“That where we work every day, and where we often have to battle with rubbish floating on the surface,” says the two in a city council statement, largely blaming badly behaved Venetians for the garbage problem. AFP



Source: Manila Bulletin

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