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‘Sea Snot’ outbreak in Turkey

‘Sea Snot’ outbreak in Turkey

  • Turkey’s Sea of Marmara has witnessed the largest outbreak of ‘sea snot’.
  • The sludge has also been spotted in the adjoining Black and Aegean seas.
  • Turkey has decided to declare the entire Sea of Marmara as a protected area& various steps are being taken to reduce pollution and improve the treatment of wastewater from coastal cities and ships.

Sea Snot

  • It is a slimy layer of grey or green sludge, which can cause considerable damage to the marine ecosystem.

  • It is formed when algae are overloaded with nutrients.

  • A ‘sea snot’ outbreak was first recorded in the country in 2007.

  • Back then, it was also spotted in the Aegean Sea near Greece.

  • Overloading of nutrients happens because of warm weather caused by global warming, water pollution, uncontrolled dumping of household and industrial waste into the seas, etc.

Impacts & Concerns of Sea Snot

  1. It has spread through the sea south of Istanbul and also blanketed harbours and shorelines.
  2. It is posing a severe threat to the marine ecosystem of the country- it has caused mass deaths among the fish population, and also killed other aquatic organisms such as corals and sponges.
  3. If unchecked, this can collapse to the bottom and cover the seafloor, causing major damage to the marine ecosystem.
  4. Over a period of time, it could end up poisoning all aquatic life, including fishes, crabs, oysters, mussels, and sea stars.
  5. Besides aquatic life, the ‘sea snot’ outbreak has also affected the livelihoods of fishermen.
  6. It can also cause an outbreak of water-borne diseases such as cholera in cities like Istanbul.