‘Sea Snot’ Outbreak in Turkey
#GS2 International Relations
#GS3 Environmental Pollution
- Recently, Turkey’s Sea of Marmara, which connects the Black Sea to the Aegean, has witnessed the most important outbreak of ‘sea snot’.
- A ‘sea snot’ outbreak was first recorded within the country in 2007.
Sea Snot and its Formation:
- It is marine mucilage that's formed when algae are overloaded with nutrients as a result of pollution combined with the consequences of global climate change.
- The nutrient overload occurs when algae feast on warm weather caused by heating.
- It looks sort of a viscous, brown, and foamy substance.
- Threat to the Marine Ecosystem:
- It has caused mass deaths among the fish population and also killed other aquatic organisms like corals and sponges.
- It is now covering the surface of the ocean and has also spread to 80-100 feet below the surface which eventually can collapse to rock bottom and canopy the ocean floor.
- Livelihoods of Fishermen Affected:
- As the sludge is getting collected in their nets, making them so heavy that they break or stray.
- Moreover, the mucilage coating the strings makes the nets visible to fish and keeps them away.
- Water-borne Diseases:
It can cause an epidemic of water-borne diseases like cholera in cities like Istanbul.
Steps that are being Taken:
- The entire Sea of Marmara is going to become a protected area.
- Moreover, steps are being taken to scale back pollution and improve the treatment of wastewater from coastal cities and ships.
- Turkey’s biggest maritime clean-up operation is being launched and called on local residents, artists, and NGOs to hitch hands to increase assistance.
- It is the method where too many nutrients, mainly nitrogen and phosphorus, are added to bodies of water and may act like fertilizer, causing excessive growth of algae.
- This process is additionally referred to as eutrophication.
- Sources of Nutrients:
- They can occur naturally as a result of weathering of rocks and soil within the watershed and that they also can come from the ocean thanks to the mixing of water currents.
- There are more nutrients entering our coastal waters from wastewater treatment facilities, runoff from land in urban areas during rains, and from farming.
- Severe algal growth blocks the light that's needed for plants, like seagrasses, to grow.
- When the algae and seagrass die, they decay and during this process, the oxygen within the water is employed up and this results in low levels of dissolved oxygen within the water.
- This, in turn, can kill fish, crabs, oysters, and other aquatic animals.
World Oceans Day
The theme of the planet Oceans Day 2021 is 'The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods'.