Red algae sign of pollution in Marmara Sea: Expert

Red algae sign of pollution in Marmara Sea: Expert

ISTANBUL - Demirören News Agency
Red algae sign of pollution in Marmara Sea: Expert

The red algae washed up on shores of Istanbul’s Anatolian side is a sign of increasing pollution in the Marmara Sea, an expert has said.

“Algae piling up due to decreased oxygen levels with the effect of the dumped waste reveals the alarming pollution in the Marmara Sea,” said Meriç Albay, Dean of Istanbul University’s Faculty of Aquatic Sciences.

“It proves that waste is still being dumped into the sea. Water and sea temperatures above the seasonal normal levels have lowered the rate of water cycling [in the sea] in this year. With the effects of pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphorus, these factors open the door to increasing amount of algae,” he added.

They have taken samples of the red algae to examine in the laboratory, he said.

The teams of Istanbul Municipality rapidly started working to remove the washed-up algae on the coastline.

“Rotted red algae can cause zonal deprivation of oxygen. Thus, the piled-up algae should be removed under control,” said Albay.

Strong southern Lodos winds generally affects the shores on the Anatolian side of the metropolis with sea waves as high as three meters washing the seaside parks and walking trails. When the weather calms down, materials including algae blanket the coastline, which includes three public beaches.

The red algae, thought to be of Gracilaria and Gelidium genus, has also frightened residents living near the Caddebostan coastline in the districts of Kadıköy and Maltepe.

“Every year, Lodos winds hit here from November until March. It repeats three or four times in a year. When the wind speed reaches 100 kilometers per hour, it fills this area with algae,” said Zafer Karaboğa, a local resident.

“I regularly go for a walk here. I have never seen such a scene before. Normally, when Lodos wind blows it brings algae, but green algae. It’s the first time I have witnessed red algae. It should be examined because it smells different too,” said Dilek Seyhan, who has been living in the nearby Göztepe neighborhood for 15 years.

Marmara Sea corals suffered a mass extinction in 2015 due to a red tide coming from the Black Sea towards the Aegean Sea through Marmara Sea, an academic said recently.

There was a serious red tide in April [2015], a plankton boom. Activities of filling the seaside with rocks and soil increased. Construction on the Princes’ Islands also peaked. The pollution from the Kurbağalıdere stream was added to those,” said Associate Prof. Nur Eda Topçu Eryalçın of Istanbul University’s Marine Biology Department on Sept. 15.

“There are very special coral communities right here, and they have a critical influence on the function of the ecosystem. If the current conditions of rising water surface temperatures and the resulting expansion of seawater, overfishing, pollution and invasive species continue undeterred, we will be endangering these creatures and marine life as well,” she added.

The Marmara region hosts 25 percent of Turkey’s total population and 60 percent of the country’s total industry.