Turkey launches 'sea snot' clean-up to save Sea of Marmara



Turkey vowed to save the Sea of Marmara on Tuesday by launching a disaster management program meant to clean up a slimy "sea snot" outbreak threatening marine life and the fishing industry.

The thick layer of organic matter, known as marine mucilage, has spread through the sea south of Istanbul covering harbors, shorelines, and swathes of the surface. Some has sunk below the waves, suffocating seabed life.

Environment Minister Murat Kurum said 25 sea surface-cleaning and barrier-laying boats, as well as 18 other vessels, were working to prevent the spread of the mucilage. Illegal fishing and "ghost" nets would be halted, and Turkey would declare Marmara a protected area by the end of 2021, he said.

Some 1,000 workers would bring the waste to shore and truck it to municipal facilities, he said.

Scientists say climate change and pollution have contributed to the proliferation of the substance, which contains a wide variety of microorganisms and can flourish when nutrient-rich sewage flows into seawater.

Residents welcomed the clean-up but complained about what they called years of uncontrolled pollution in the sea.

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