Geography

Save our city

Save Our -Venice Introduction Venice is naturally prone to floods, as the is fast spreading across many islands located along the Arabian Sea, in the Venetian lagoon. However, the efforts are on to save this city from sinking, which the city is going through currently at the rate of 0.08 inches each year, according to a report published in the March issue of Geochemistry, geophysics and Geosystems.
Answers to questions:
Q.#1 Location of Venice, reason for its floods
Venice is located on a lagoon along the Arabian Sea. The city is separated from the sea by many barren islands. The lagoon had mudflats earlier, which formed a natural barrier for the rising tides causing them to disburse. However, with continuous human interference with Venetian ecology, the city is now more prone to floods from high-rise tides. The utilization of mudflats for construction and diversion of rivers and other similar actions have disturbed the ecological balance of Venice with the Arabian Sea. This is the main reason for Venice getting floods during high tides and heavy rains. (Nosengo).
Q.#2 MOSE– its brainchild, date of completion and cost.
It is the Italian name of the engineering solution for saving Venice. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi initiated this costly project and declared the working on it in December 2001. The project cost is around USD 2.6 billion and it is scheduled to complete in 2011, with the construction of hollow gates starting in 2006.The project being an engineering solution to save Venice from floods involves construction of 78 hollow metal gates, having the height of 20m with thickness of 5m. The placement of these gates is at three main inlets of this lagoon. (Nosengo).
Q.#3 Positive and negative positions from advocates and critics of MOSE
Many environmentalists have shown concerns about the project as they feel that even a few hours of closure of gates can cause tremendous disturbance to the ecosystem of this lagoon. Politicians have expressed fears that money meant for this project will be diverted elsewhere in the city. Deputy Mayor of Venice, Gianfranco Bettin has been the most forthright in his criticism of MOSE, saying that it is “expensive, hazardous and probably useless”. (Nosengo).
The strong criticism to the technical feasibility of MOSE is from Paolo Antonio, who was born in Venice and works with Laboratory of Physical Geography in Meudon, France. His main concern relates to MOSE being developed keeping in mind the 1966 major floods, which are unlikely to occur for another 165 years. He says the project cannot offer result-oriented solution for smaller floods. His other concern relates to the rapid rise in water levels during the closure of gates.
However, supporters of MOSE argue that 1966 can repeat anytime, if proper remedial measures are not taken. Andrio Rinaldo is also Venice born and has seen the 1966 disaster. He is now working as a Hydraulic engineer with Padova University, near Venice. Supporting the project, he feels that water will not rise to alarming levels, as expressed by Antonio. (Nosengo).
Q.#4 Environmental concerns from critics
Environmentalists criticizing MOSE argue that Venice cannot afford even a brief pause in the water exchange with sea, as it can cause unthinkable disturbance in the lagoon’s ecosystem. The designers of MOSE have provided for the closure of gates for four to five hours, which is not acceptable to environmentalists. (Nosengo).
Q.#5 Businesses have serious concerns and doubts about MOSE
Human intervention has made the city of Venice vulnerable to rising floods. MOSE is yet another such intervention, which will completely deprive Venice of its natural ecosystem. The mudflats being developed naturally over the years had provided good support to Venice, but they have been destroyed by mass constructions of canals, shipyards and diversion of rivers. In addition, this project is very costly and money spent on MOSE may not be worth it. (LoVerso)
The time only will tell about the fate of businesses, after implementation of MOSE, when another flood occurs,
Works Cited
LoVerso, Marco. “Can Moses Save Venice?”, The Continental Reader. n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2014. Nosengo, Nicola. “Save Our City”, News Feature, Nature Publishing Group, 07 August 2003, Web. 21 Feb. 2014,

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