Household waste is blamed for a 100-foot-deep ‘Sea Snot’ slime that is endangering marine life.
Large blankets of so-called “sea snot” blocked Turkey’s coastline, harming marine life and the country’s fishing economy, prompting experts to call for action.
The thick, dark frothy substance, known as marine mucilage, emerges when algae becomes overburdened with nutrients as a result of warm weather and increased household and water pollution in recent decades.
The sludge was initially discovered in Turkey in 2007, but researchers believe this is the first time it has been seen in such a massive scale.
The substance has now spread throughout the coasts of the Sea of Marmara, which divides the Asian and European parts of Istanbul, the country’s metropolis.
“Of course, it has an impact on our work,” Mahsum Daga, a 42-year-old fisherman, told the Agence France-Presse news agency.
“Have you ever seen what it does to shellfish? Because it gets in the way when they open up, it stops them from closing up again. All of the sea snails in this area have died.”
The sludge is consuming the entire sea from the surface to the bottom, according to Professor Barş Saliholu, head of METU’s Institute of Maritime Sciences.
He told Demirören News Agency (DHA) on Friday, “We’ve seen a gel-like structure spreading across the sea and never witnessed such a massive bulk before.”
“Studies reveal the mucilage is not only on the surface currently but also reaches 25 to 30 metres (80-100ft) deep,” Cevahir Efe Akcelik, an environment engineer and secretary general of the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects, told AFP.
According to Saliholu, rising pollution and a lack of waste management are exacerbating the problem, resulting in drastically lower oxygen levels at sea.
“Agricultural and industrial garbage poured into the sea from deltas and tributaries exacerbated the problem.
“At the very least, we need to cut pollution in half. Within five to six years, reducing pollution by half would restore oxygen levels to normal. We need patience as well as quick action,” he continued.
Local wastewater treatment plants, according to Saliholu, need to be updated to prevent future outbreaks of sea snot and to reduce pollution in neighboring waterways.
Muharrem Balci, an Istanbul University biology professor, reportedly warned that the mucilage is now covering the sea surface “like a tent canvas,” which might have a fatal effect on marine life due to a lack of oxygen. This is a condensed version of the information.