Turkey launched on Tuesday a campaign to remove mucilage, also known as “sea snot,” from the Marmara Sea.
Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum inaugurated the campaign in the Caddebostan beach on the shores of the Marmara Sea in the country’s largest city Istanbul.
“We are starting Turkey’s largest and most comprehensive sea cleaning campaign to eliminate the mucilage problem that threatens all sea creatures and the entire ecological life,” Kurum said.
The minister also stated that his ministry plans to declare the Marmara Sea a protected area until the end of 2021.
The head of a cleaning team told reporters on the scene that the crew members will confine mucilage in a certain area with special equipment in the sea and pull it out via pumps.
Scuba divers have dived several times to check the situation under the water off Caddebostan.
The oxygen level under the sea surface is now considerably low that kills the sea life slowly, Tahsin Ceylan, a scuba diver and the head of the Turkish Underwater Sports Federation, told reporters after completing his latest diving.
Mehtap Akbas Ciftci, another scuba diver of the federation, said all the sea creatures are covered with mucilage.
The thick jello-like layer of slime has been first seen on Istanbul’s shores and later expanded to several other provinces along the Marmara Sea and the northern Aegean Sea.
A large part of the Marmara Sea has now been covered with this substance, threatening the environment, underwater life, and fishing activities.
Press reports noted that mucilage was also seen in some parts of the Black Sea.
Scientists say this phenomenon is not new, but it has become massive due to pollution, such as raw sewage running-offs from Istanbul and coastal cities to the sea.
XINHUA | ISTANBUL