The marmara sea on Turkey it’s dying. A slimy substance is literally drowning the life of the water. Scientists say rising sea temperatures and untreated sewage dumped into the ocean combine to create the perfect conditions for phytoplankton to thrive. Now is thriving at the expense of everything around it.
At normal levels, the microscopic plant is essential to provide oxygen to marine life. But when it grows to the extreme levels seen now in the Marmara, it accumulates in a thick layer of silt known as mucilage or, more descriptively, sea mucus.
The teacher Bayram Ozturk, director of the Marine Research Foundation of Turkey, has been studying the Sea of Marmara for years, and told CBS News that he had never seen anything like this. “Never never. It is a true environmental catastrophe“, He said. “Sea mucus is killing large numbers of some species in the Marmara by removing nutrients from the water.”
Authorities have worked for weeks to clean it up, but their solution is purely cosmetic: scraping the mucus off the surface of the water does nothing to address the roots of the problem.
Around 25 million people live around the Marmara. After decades of indiscriminate pollution, the disastrous consequences are surfacing.
the oceanographer Mustafa Yucel, who studied at the University of Delaware, leads an expedition to measure oxygen levels in the Sea of Marmara. His team “will try to piece together the history of contamination” and their findings could help prevent future outbreaks.
Sea snot outbreaks have occurred in the Adriatic Sea in the past, on a smaller scale, and were controlled through strict pollution management. But the expanse of snot that suffocates the Marmara it is the largest registered and it could serve as a warning to the world.
“For example, in the United States, in the Chesapeake Bay, in the Gulf of Mexico, everyone is like the Sea of Marmara: they are overloadedYucel said.
There are no quick fixes to the problem, and experts warn that urgent measures must be taken to curb local pollution and global climate change that fuels mucilage growth.
“If we reduce pollution by about 40%, that’s a huge amount, the system can only start to recover after such a reduction, ”Yucel said about the problem off the coast of Turkey. “That would take at least 5 to 6 years to get the Sea of Marmara out of this coma.”
The Turkish government has drawn up an emergency action plan, which includes fining the big polluters. But activists say they want to see a greater commitment to saving the country’s seas before it’s too late.