By Yesim Dikmen and Mehmet Emin Caliskan
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – A thick, viscous layer of so-called “sea snot” is spreading into the Sea of Marmara in Turkey south of Istanbul, posing a threat to marine life and the fishing industry.
Scientists claim that climate change and pollution have contributed to the overgrowth of organic matter, also known as marine mucilage, which contains a wide variety of microorganisms and can thrive when nutrient-rich sewage is discharged. in sea water.
Drone footage shot over the Sea of Marmara shows ferries and cargo ships plying the ports and seawater covered in a slimy, greyish substance that can choke marine life.
“The fate of the Sea of Marmara is the result of what humans have done. It is the result of household waste and pollution, ”said filmmaker Tahsin Ceylan, who is making a documentary on the impact of marine glanders.
“The only thing to do is not to throw your waste into the sea,” he said. “I think nature doesn’t deserve this.”
Experts have linked the increasing amount of sea glanders to high sea temperatures resulting from climate change as well as the discharge of untreated sewage into the sea.
Environment Minister Murat Kurum said sea snot is a serious problem and a team of 300 is assessing dozens of spots in the Sea of Marmara as well as water and spring treatment facilities pollution.
He said the government would bring together all parties concerned on Friday and announce an action plan on Sunday to protect the sea.
Hydrobiologist Levent Artuz has warned that these ecological problems will persist unless there is a change in people’s behavior.
“As long as we continue with these practices, it doesn’t make much sense to expect different results. We will continue to encounter disasters like this one, ”he said, highlighting the increase in wastewater discharges into waters in recent years.
(Written by Daren Butler, edited by Janet Lawrence)