Turkey started cleaning up the slimy sea snot that has spread through the Sea of Marmara, threatening animals and plants that live there.
The thick layer of marine mucilage has spread through the sea south of Istanbul covering harbors and shorelines. Some has sunk below the waves, killing animals living on the seafloor.
Environment minister Murat Kurum said 25 sea surface-cleaning boats and 18 other vessels were working to prevent the spread of the mucilage.
Illegal fishing would be stopped, and ghost nets, nets that have been left in the ocean by fishermen, removed, Kurum said. By the end of 2021, Marmara would be a protected area, he added.
“We are starting our cleaning efforts both on land and at sea at 15 points today,” Kurum said on Tuesday. “We are determined to save the Marmara.”
Scientists say climate change and pollution have contributed to the expansion of the slimy substance, which contains a wide variety of microorganisms and can flourish when sewage water flows into the sea.
Residents welcomed the clean-up but complained about what they called years of uncontrolled pollution in the sea.
“Of course, this sea snot is something that is caused over a few years. The harmful substances thrown into the sea caused vomiting in the seabed, and when there was no current, it stayed there,” said Kadir Saydam, a 65-year old pharmacist.