The Grand Canal in Venice is a busy place; there are water taxis, delivery boats, even barges full of cement mixers. This past Sunday, it banned all fossil fuel powered boats for five hours to encourage the use of cleaner power. According to the Independent,
Paolo Lamappo, a spokesman for Italia Nostra, which works to preserve the city's heritage, said: "We hope it'll make Venetians more aware of how lovely the city could be if we insist on boats only with electric power." Conservationists say that two-stroke marine engines are a particular problem in terms of the volume of fumes and the smell they produce.
The big boats also make waves that are threatening the facades of the buildings, not to mention the gondoliers in their tiny tourist traps. According to the Telegraph,
The initiative has been organised by Venice city council with the cooperation of organisations like the chamber of commerce. "The day will reinforce the council's commitment to the battle against pollution and the damaging waves created by boats," said Ugo Bergamo, a city councillor.
The canal is a working street; construction equipment, food deliveries, even the couriers have their own boats. Imagine closing your main street to everything but electric cars and bicycles. It would be a different world.