The rise of the tide is not the only enemy of Venice. In its strategy to save its heritage and essence, the city appeals to the responsibility of those who are both a source of income and a problem: tourists.
"You have to go to Venice with a logic of respect. You have to go for a few days, to be impregnated with it. Those who hurt you are those who go only one day," explains his mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, to EFE.
The conservative politician was this week in Copenhagen to participate in the summit of mayors of the C40 climate leadership group, where he explained his plan so that the "Serenísima" does not succumb to the effects of warming.
And that medium and long-term roadmap to continue afloat has as protagonists not only the large ships that enter its lagoon, but also its almost 25 million annual visitors.
"No one should have negative thoughts about tourists. They are curious people who want to see a place like Venice and it is fair that they can do it. We must simply establish simple rules," says the businessman.
The application from next January of a rate of up to ten euros for those who spend less than 24 hours, to offset the cost left in cleaning or maintenance, reflects the conviction that taking care of it not only corresponds to the nearly 53,000 inhabitants of Its historic center.
In its sights are also tourist rentals through platforms such as Airbnb. "The use of private houses must be regulated much more precisely if it is not done in a professional manner," he warns.
The tourist who stays in them does not have to know, for example, that in Venice there is a selective collection of door-to-door garbage that has increased recycling: "He does not know where to throw it. No one explains anything, and therefore without wanting becomes a problem. "
This waste management is part of a broader environmental sustainability plan, which among other points contemplates tightening restrictions against single-use plastic.
Venice and its lagoon have been a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1987 and continuing as such does not allow you to relax. That UN organization warned him in 2017 that he should take steps before 2021 to avoid being included in his "blacklist", and the next meeting of his committee to see the progress will be held in 2020 in China.
"Neither the government nor Venice wants to enter the list. We have much to thank Unesco. We work together to defend the city, have it clean and safe, because it is a western symbol of our culture," adds his mayor, born in his province 58 years ago
In Venice the alarms jump when the high tide reaches 80 centimeters. And when it reaches 110, about 12% of the pedestrian area of the historic center is flooded. The city has fought against the elements for centuries, but warming has increased those phenomena making it more vulnerable.
If the worst predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were fulfilled, according to which the sea level could rise 110 centimeters in 2100 compared to the end of the 20th century, the situation would be critical.
"It is not written that it will end up destroyed. Venice is much more alive than some say. It is a resilient city that adapts," says the mayor, supported by new technologies in that search for sustainable solutions.
Brugnaro has as a priority that its inhabitants "live well." His city, he concludes, is "a symbol for the world, one of its great symbols. We must set aside our respective selfishness and interests. If Venice is saved, the world is saved."
. (tagsToTranslate) Venice (t) asks (t) responsible tourism (t) to be saved