‘Sea Snot’ Creates Environmental Threat in Turkey

Marmara Sea, located entirely within the borders of Turkey, has been gripped by blooming sea snot, raising concerns amongst environmentalists and biologists. While the naturally occurring mucilage was first documented in Turkey in 2007, it has grown at alarming levels this year. Photographs and video clips that surfaced on the internet show ships and boats jammed by the sea snot while underground footages depict corals, fish suffocated by it.

What is Sea Snot?

Sea Snot, also known as marine mucilage, is a collection of thick, slimy, mucus-like substance found in the sea. It is composed of compounds secreted by marine organisms. At present, it has not only bloomed in the Marmara but also in adjoining the area of the black and the Aegean Sea. Experts have blamed the bloom on Chemical and Industrial waste as well as devastating climate change.

Marmara, an inland sea that connects the Back Sea to the Aegean Sea, is bordered by five Turkish provinces. Additionally, it also covers the coast of the country’s most populous city -Istanbul. With sea snot blooming at an exponential rate, experts have warned of significant damage to trade as well as the fishing industry. On Sunday, boats were diverted to other routes.

‘mucilage calamity’

On June 6, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to pull his country out of the ‘mucilage calamity. Speaking in Ankara, he blamed untreated sewage being dumped into the sea, as well as rising temperatures. “My fear is, if this expands to the Black Sea… the trouble will be enormous. We need to take this step without delay,” he said. 

Erdogan said he instructed the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization to coordinate with relevant institutions, municipalities and universities. Teams, which total up to 300 members,  are inspecting wastewater and solid waste facilities, along with other potential sources of pollution, he said. “We will save our seas from this mucilage calamity, leading with the Marmara Sea,” Erdogan said. “We must take this step without delay.”

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