Mucilage starts to spread into Black Sea

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The massive marine mucilage bloom that has threatened the undersea life of the Marmara Sea is now spreading and taking the Black Sea under its grip.

Upon the calls of fishermen who notified about the large amounts of mucilage accumulating in the waters off the Yalıköy port in the province of Ordu’s Fatsa district, authorities initiated efforts to clear the waters off the port on June 7.

However, according to an expert, the Black Sea might face tough days like the Marmara Sea if the precautions are not taken on time.

“The situation in the Black Sea is not worse like the Marmara Sea. But, if we go on polluting it, in three, five, or maybe 30 years, we will experience the same phenomenon in the Black Sea,” said Mehmet Aydın, a professor from Ordu University.

Mucilage, also known colloquially as sea snot, is the overgrowth of microscopic algae called phytoplankton. The thick, mucus-like slimy layer contains a variety of microorganisms and is caused by an increase in seawater temperature due to global warming, stillness at sea and pollution.

The expert noted that while planting tea and nuts, phosphorus and nitrogen are used as fertilizers and that their increased inputs lead to eutrophication in the coastal waters of the Black Sea, disturbing the marine ecosystem.

“Both the Marmara and the Black Seas are inland seas. These fertilizers would show effect in three, five, or maybe 30 years,” he said.

“Unfortunately, all the provinces of the region drain their waste or sewage into the sea. We should build biological treatment plants as soon as possible,” he added.

He also warned about the decreasing fish population in the Black Sea.

According to the professor, the increase in the human population in the region will decrease the fish population more in the coming years.

“If you are buying a kilo of anchovy for 40 or 50 Turkish Liras ($4.6 or $5.8), you know that the current situation is bad,” he added.

Meanwhile, Turkey started a massive cleanup campaign to save the Marmara Sea from excessive algae yesterday, according to the Environment and Urbanization Ministry.

Reiterating about a new 22-point action plan, the ministry said in a statement that it would start the nonstop campaign to clear a recent surge in mucilage.

The work will be carried out by the Environment and Urbanization Ministry, the Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry, the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry, the Health Ministry, the Interior Ministry, related institutions, non-governmental organizations and municipalities under the coordination of governorships of provinces that are near the sea’s coastline, the ministry said.

Metropolitan, provincial and district municipalities and their associations will also carry out all necessary work on the transportation and management of mucilage and wastes collected from the sea.

The campaign started yesterday at 2 p.m. at Istanbul’s Caddebostan beach with the attendance of Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum, Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya, district mayors and NGOs, according to ministry officials.

Hurriyet Daily News

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