Turkey fights against algae snot

Turkey has started a major cleaning action in the Marmara Sea. The operation, the largest of its kind in Turkish history, is targeted against so-called ‘sea not’. This pituitary substance is secreted by phytoplankton, very small algae.

Environment Minister Murat Kurum has appointed a thousand people to deal with the problem. Waste is being fished from the sea, pollution is reduced and waste water will be cleaned better. At the end of this year, the Marmara Sea will be protected area.

In prolonged hot weather, an abundance of nutrients enters the water. The algae thrive well in this. Marine pollution also provides nutrition to the phytoplankton. Cities around the Marmara Sea, including Istanbul metropolis with more than 15 million inhabitants, and industries discharge their waste into the water. Too much nitrogen is also produced by growing tea and hazelnuts, which also stimulates algae growth. That nitrogen must be reduced by 40 percent by the cleaning action.

The sea snot covers large areas of the Marmara Sea, preventing sunlight. That‘s why marine life dies massively. That’s another fisherman‘s nightmare. There is also a risk of viruses and bacteria from the snot. It’s no wonder that fewer and fewer people want to bathe in the seaside resorts around the sea. Local tourism has received many cancellations. Moreover, the sea snot is now threatening more and more nearby seas.

The problem was first spotted in 2007, but it has never been as serious as it is today. According to Minister Kurum, global warming has contributed to the increased amount of sea snot.