76 pct of pollution in Marmara Sea comes from Istanbul, shows research
New environmental projects for Istanbul are crucial as 76 percent of the pollution load of the Marmara Sea comes from the metropolis, the head of a parliamentary research commission examining mucilage that invaded the sea early in the summer has said.
In a press conference late Aug. 18, Mustafa Demirli said there were three reasons why mucilage severely threatened the marine biome in the Marmara Sea.
“Firstly, because of global warming, the Marmara Sea started getting warm. Due to the geological structure of the Marmara Sea, the water is more likely stagnant. Thirdly, the pollution of the sea, I mean, the human factor,” he said.
According to Demirli, 76 percent of the pollution of the sea comes from Istanbul. “Therefore, any environmental project for the metropolis is important,” he added.
Mucilage is a jelly-like layer of slime that develops on the surface of the water due to the excessive proliferation of microscopic plants called phytoplankton caused by untreated waste dumped in the Marmara Sea and climate change.
On June 6, Turkish authorities announced a 22-point action plan to clear the surge of mucilage, which had travelled as far as the northeastern parts of the Aegean Sea.
In a rare show of unity, five parties represented in parliament agreed on June 10 to form a joint committee that would investigate the cause of the outbreak and propose solutions to combat it.
“Some 53 percent of waste is dumped into the Marmara Sea after mechanical treatment. Scientific results show us that domestic waste is mostly the cause of the problem,” he noted.
Orhan Demir, the deputy secretary-general of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, also touched on the topic at the conference.
“Cooling waters are another reason for the presence of the mucilage,” Demir said.
Effective treatment facilities are direct solutions against the mucilage.
However, according to Raif Mermutlu, the head of İSKİ, Istanbul’s public water management department, insufficient land spaces are the main reason why a huge treatment facility cannot be established to save the Marmara Sea.
“How can we find space and build a treatment facility in Kadıköy [a district on the Asian side of Istanbul]? Besides how would the inhabitants react if a biological treatment facility, a need to clean the sea, is set up in that area?,” he asked.