Fight against mucilage a long-running struggle, says expert
Mustafa Sarı, a professor from the Science Board - established to coordinate efforts to fight against mucilage that has invaded the Turkish waters, has said that long-term solutions are needed to rescue the Maramara Sea from sea snot.
“Since we cannot change the conditions in nature what we have to do is very simple: We have to stop waste from being disposed into the sea,” Sarı said.
Firstly, the dumping of wastes should be stopped only then the rehabilitation of the sea can start, according to the scientist.
“In order to do so, the Marmara Sea should be declared a protected area. We are discharging at least half of the untreated wastewater. If we can treat the wastewater, we can collect them in reservoirs. Why discharge it into the sea?” Sarı said.
Noting that Turkey is suffering from water shortage and the water collected in reservoirs could be used in irrigation and for watering parks, he said, “We need to act immediately.”
Sarı, the dean of Onyedi Eylül University’s Maritime Faculty and who often dives into the Marmara Sea to see the environmental damage, said the mucilage problem was not yet over. “We do not see it on the surface or 10 meters deep into the sea, but from 10 meters to 30 meters, there is still mucilage there, and it’s very heavy.”
Explaining the effects of the mucilage on the sea life, Sarı recalled that he saw a Lapin fish dead at the bottom of the sea as it was covered in sea snot while sleeping.
“In another dive, I encountered a family of wrasse fish. These are the rare species building nests just like birds. The female fish built a nest out of the mucilage and laid her eggs inside. The mucilage, which killed the Lapin fish became a home to the wrasse fish,” he said.
Caused by the over-reproduction of certain types of microalgae, marine mucilage has produced unprecedented scenes in the Marmara Sea and severely hurt the Turkish fishing industry.
Turkish authorities on June 8 launched its “largest and most comprehensive sea cleaning mobilization” ever to save the sea from the plague of excessive algae.