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Popular Representations

The History of Venice PART 1

I have just watched short documentary titled: The Death of Venice (1995), the documentary highlighted some of the major ecological issues that continue to cause issues regarding the sustainability of the city economically as well as in a literal sense.

The text refers to Venice initially as ‘the mask of Italy’; the documentary is narrated by Dr Georgia Ferrari a scientist who works with the Venice Water Authority to ensure that the water in Venice is free from pollutions and dangerous materials.

Venice’s pollutions is caused by the cities wastage being disposed of by being sent straight to the canals which flow through the city as well as oil from food companies and others materials. The test that Dr Ferrari conducts with his small team are vital in ensuring that the cities important lagoon is kept in good condition, regularly cleaned and that major industrial companies are not further polluting the water which could potentially lead to death of animals etc. Chemical materials that have previously been found in the Venice lagoon are; ammonia, copper, and arsenic.
The materials from the chemical plants stop the filtering and cleaning process of the water which poses a major problem.

The lagoon has always been sacred to the Venetian people, yet whilst the city began to become a tourist attraction the city was built up and the lagoon was not given the attention it required which caused the problems to worsen. The problem was not addressed until the eco-system failed due to the pressure which produced the ‘smell’ it was then that people such as Dr Georgia Ferrari began to work on finding a solution.

There are many factors that contributed to the aroma in Venice such as the chemical reactions from the factories and from the chemical which are used to filter the water. There are also issues such as the build up of algae within the area which produces bacteria, and thus parasites that grow in masses, which have on more than one occasion caused transport such as aeroplanes and the central train from Venice to the mainland to shut down. There is also much risk of endangering the animals that live in the water as well as the thousands of people that depend upon the lagoon for their livelihood. There are also the factors that the main source of income for many people in Venice is trough tourism, and conditions regarding the cleanliness of the water can and have already had major impacts on the amount of people that choose to visit the city in the summer months.

Databases holding analytical data regarding the industrial companies and the products they distribute as well as satellite date, showing the possible effects of the direct pollution on a larger scale are used to assist the government in dealing with issues within the Venice canals.

The younger generations are also being taught to be more respectful of the canals in regards to littering of the water, there are institutions that aim to combat the pollution such as smaller companies, hotels etc that can purify their own water which means that waste is not sent into the canals yet this is a small percentage of the functioning companies within the city and therefore does not make a substantial improvement to the situation.

 
The documentary was broadcasted on Channel 4 – 19-02-1995
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