Over the past six months, a huge mass of organic matter, sea snot, also known as marine mucilage (made up of dead and living organic material, much of it phytoplankton) has been spreading over the surface of the Sea of Marmara.
It is a great threat to marine life, kills fishes and increases the sea temperature. While the mucilage, which was increasing gradually in the Marmara Sea, began to flow towards the Aegean Sea, it now also threatens the Black Sea.
It was reported that the mucilage that first appeared in the Sea of Marmara emerged as a result of the increase in water temperatures due to global warming and the flow of industrial waste water into the sea in this region. State officials in Turkey have announced that they will ‘save the Marmara Sea,’ but the facts reveal that the situation could have been prevented years ago.
Sea snot has been a problem in the Marmara Sea since 2007, but never to this extent. However, it has been revealed that an effective solution to the problem has not been developed so far, and the ‘Urban Wastewater Treatment Regulation,’ which was issued in 2006 regarding wastewater, one of the most important causes of mucilage, has not been implemented for 10 years.
Baran Bozoğlu, President of the Climate Change Policy and Research Association, has explained that as a result of the non-implementation of the regulation, pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphorus – which are the main causes of mucilage – continue to flow into the sea. He stated that after the aforementioned regulation, risky areas should have been identified but they did not do this for 10 years. To add to this, a seven-year transition period was given to wastewater treatment plants, he added.
“So, 17 years after the regulation was issued, if there is no delay, the facilities will make these revisions,” he said. Bozoğlu said, “The solution to the mucilage problem is waiting on the shelves. Mucilage has reached an alarming level today and could have been prevented at that time.”