Turkey’s environment minister has pledged to defeat a plague of “sea snot” that threatens the Sea of Marmara, with a disaster management plan that, he said, would ensure its future.
A thick, slimy layer of organic matter, known as marine mucilage, has spread across the sea south of Istanbul, posing a threat to marine life and the fishing industry.
Ports, coasts and strips of seawater have been covered by the slimy, grayish substance, some of which has also sunk beneath the waves, suffocating life on the seabed.
“Hopefully together we will protect our Marmara under a disaster management plan,” Murat Kurum said on Sunday, speaking from a marine research ship that has been taking samples of the substance.
“We will take all the necessary steps within three years and carry out the projects that will save not only the present, but also the future, together,” Kurum said, adding that he would give details of the action plan soon.
Scientists say the climate crisis and pollution have contributed to the proliferation of organic matter, which contains a wide variety of microorganisms and can flourish when nutrient-rich wastewater flows into seawater.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the outbreak on untreated water in cities like Istanbul, home to 16 million people, and vowed to “cleanse our seas of the scourge of mucilage.”