Sea glanders epidemic off Turkish coast threatens marine life

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ISTANBUL, June 1 (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. peach.

Scientists claim that climate change and pollution have contributed to the proliferation of organic matter, also known as marine mucilage, which contains a wide variety of microorganisms and can thrive when nutrient-rich sewage drains. in sea water.

Drone footage shot over the Sea of ​​Marmara shows ferries and cargo ships plying the ports and seawater covered in the 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 Ceylon, who is making a documentary on the impact of marine snot.

“The only thing to do is not to throw your waste into the sea,” he said. “I think nature doesn’t deserve this.”

An aerial view shows a thick layer of “sea snot”, made up of a wide variety of microorganisms, which covers the sea near the coast in the port of Bostanci in Istanbul, Turkey on May 31, 2021. REUTERS / Mehmet Caliskan

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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 glanders were a serious problem and a team of 300 was assessing dozens of spots in the Sea of ​​Marmara as well as water and spring treatment facilities pollution.

He said the government would bring all concerned parties together on Friday and announce an action plan to protect the sea on Sunday.

Hydrobiologist Levent Artuz has warned that such ecological problems will continue 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,” he said, highlighting the increase in releases. of wastewater in the waters in recent years.

Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Janet Lawrence

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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