Turkey’s Sea of Marmara, which connects the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea, recently witnessed the largest outbreak of ‘sea snot’.
- The sludge has also been spotted in the adjoining Black and Aegean seas.
- A ‘sea snot’ outbreak was first recorded in the country in 2007.
- Back then, it was also spotted in the Aegean Sea near Greece.
- The President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that considerable steps will be taken to solve the problem and protect the country’s seas.
Steps taken by Turkey to contain its spread:
- Turkey has decided to declare the entire Sea of Marmara as a protected area.
- Steps are being taken to reduce pollution and improve treatment of waste water from coastal cities and ships.
- A disaster management plan is being prepared.
What is sea snot?
- ‘Sea snot’ is marine mucilage, which floats up on the surface of the sea like a brown phlegm.
- This thick slimy layer of organic matter looks like a viscous, brown and foamy substance.
- It can cause considerable damage to the marine ecosystem.
- It is formed when algae are overloaded with nutrients.
- Overloading of nutrients happens because of warm weather caused by global warming, water pollution, uncontrolled dumping of household and industrial waste into the seas etc.
Impacts and concerns of Sea Snort:
It has spread through the sea south of Istanbul and also blanketed harbours and shorelines. The impacts and concerns of sea snot are as follows:
Livelihoods of Fishermen Affected:
- The ‘sea snot’ outbreak has affected the livelihoods of fishermen.
- The collection of sludge in their nets is making them so heavy that they break or get lost.
- Moreover, the mucilage coating the strings makes the nets visible to fish and keeps them away.
- It can also cause an outbreak of water-borne diseases such as cholera in cities like Istanbul.
Threat to the Marine Ecosystem:
- The most important factor is that it is posing a severe threat to the marine ecosystem of the country.
- It has caused mass deaths among the fish population and also killed other aquatic organisms such as corals and sponges.
- If unchecked, this can collapse to the bottom and cover the seafloor, causing major damage to the marine ecosystem.
- Over a period of time, it could end up poisoning all aquatic life, including fishes, crabs, oysters, mussels, and sea stars.