Turkey, World

'Mucilage warning system for Marmara Sea is needed'

Answer is rapid, strong action to reduce nutrient loads from city, industry, agriculture, says Turkish Academy of Science

Şengül Azbay,Kadir Yıldız   | 05.06.2021
'Mucilage warning system for Marmara Sea is needed'


The establishment of a mucilage warning system for the Marmara Sea is needed, the dean of maritime faculty at Bandirma Onyedi Eylul University said Friday.

There are many reasons for the formation of mucilage, or sea saliva, Dr. Mustafa Sari said at the workshop, The Mucilage Problem in the Sea of Marmara and Solution Offers.

"Unless we change our waste management system, we have no chance to get rid of mucilage," he said.

He underlined that trying to clean the mucilage via ships is not a sustainable solution. In areas such as harbors, shelters, marinas, shallow bays and gulfs, the parts that thicken on the surface should be removed so organisms below do not disappear.

Sari drew attention to the need for the reduction of fertilizers and chemical pesticides in agricultural production, and that Turkey has to switch to good agricultural practices.

"We need to define a new waste management policy for the Marmara Sea with a holistic approach, but definitely we have to take climate change into account," he said.

He also emphasized that fishermen have to walk away from trawl fishery and alternative fishing methods need to be created.

“We definitely need to establish a mucilage early warning system for the Sea of Marmara,” he added.

Izzet Ozturk from Istanbul Technical University’s Environmental Engineering Department said serious investments were made in line with the European Union harmonization process that started in 1990 and gained speed after 2005.

He said treatment facilities were constructed in the Marmara region except for Kucukcekmece, underlining that Turkey has made serious investments regarding treatment facilities.

Ozturk said the sudden rise in temperature and even desert dust contributes to mucilage formation.

“The mucilage has been seen in different places in the world, but we need to put the issue on the interdisciplinary table with all its aspects. We need to search the subject in detail,” he said.

The Turkish Academy of Science (TUBA) issued an assessment report Friday on mucilage and said to solve the problem, rapid and effective measures should be taken to reduce the nutrient loads originating from the city, industry and agriculture in all areas surrounding the sea and in the regions of Thrace that drain into the Black Sea.

The report underlined that the main cause of mucilage is the nutrient load which soars beyond the capacity of Marmara’s marine ecosystem and the excessive biological production.

“[The] Marmara region comes first in terms of population density and economic activities in Turkey. Rapid population growth increases the amount of waste water and waste load and pollutants in cities. The inadequacy of waste water treatment facilities increases the incidence of mucilage and similar problems,” it said.

The solution, the report said is rapid and effective measures should be taken to reduce nutrient loads.

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