A slimy layer of grey or green sludge formed when algae are overloaded with nutrients is called sea snot. It is a marine mucilage and is harmful to the water bodies.
Why is it in the news?
The largest Sea Snot outbreak is being witnessed in Turkey’s Marmara Sea, which connects the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea. This outbreak of mucilage is believed to be one of the largest on record, till date, and has created havoc along the country’s coastline for months. It has suffocated the marine life, cloaked the harbours and clogged fishermen’s nets.
Turkey had recorded its first Sea snot outbreak in 2007. Back then, it was also spotted in the Aegean Sea near Greece. This time, the thick layer of slimy goop extends for miles in every direction in the Sea of Marmara of Istanbul.
Also, read about the Suez Canal Blockage 2021 which left a severe negative impact on the international trade between Europe, Asia and the Middle East
In this article, we shall discuss at length what is sea snot, how is it caused and what impact it leaves on marine life. All government and IAS Exam aspirants must refer to the data discussed further below in the article.
UPSC aspirants can also refer to the links below for exam preparation:
|International Maritime Organization (IMO)||Salinity Of Ocean Water [UPSC Notes]|
|Indian Ocean Commission (IOC)||Marine Protected Areas in India|
|Coastal Erosion in India||Difference between Sea and Ocean|
Sea Snot – Key Points
How is Sea Snot formed?
When algae are overloaded with nutrients as a result of water pollution and climate change, it begins to create a thick slimy layer on the surface of the water. This layer is colloquially known as sea snot. These algae feast and grow in warm and nutrient-rich water.
What are the causes of Sea Snot?
The major causes of Sea Snot include:
- One of the biggest causes of this layer of snot is global warming and the increasing temperature of the water bodies
- The climatic conditions and the severe variations in climate change is another cause of this. UPSC aspirants can get notes on Climate Change in India at the linked article.
- The increased water pollution is another key factor resulting in the formation of sea snot
Impact of Sea Snot
With the increased water pollution, global warming and deteriorating climatic condition, the overall situation of water bodies across the globe are being affected. Considering sea snot, it also leaves a severe impact on marine life. Discussed below are the concerns regarding the same:
- Marine Ecosystem gets affected – Since the snot covers up the surface of the water along with 80 to 90 feet below the surface, it results in the death of many sea creatures, fishes and other aquatic organisms such as corals and sponges
- Clogs Fishermen’s nets – The livelihood of fishermen gets affected as the sludge gets collected on the nets, making them heavy and tougher to remove from the water, ultimately resulting in the breaking down of nets. Also, because of the dark colour of the layer formed on the surface, the net becomes visible to the fishes, and it becomes difficult to trap them
- Gives rise to water-borne diseases – Cases of diseases like cholera which are water-borne may also rise
- Poisoning Aquatic Organisms – Fishes, crabs, oysters, mussels and other marine animals may get poisoned. These sea creatures are also consumed by people and can affect their health as well
The increasing global warming has impacted the complete ecosystem massively. Candidates can read in detail about the Destruction of Ecosystems at the linked article.
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Steps Taken to Contain the Spread of Sea Snot
- All necessary actions must be taken by the authorities to preserve the water bodies and control water pollution
- Steps for treatment of water in coastal areas must be prioritised
- Measures must be taken to preserve the environment and climate as ultimately irregularities in the climatic conditions and increasing global warming have resulted in the spread of the smudge
Actions Being Taken in Turkey to Control the Sea Snot Outbreak
The following measures are being taken by the Turkey authorities to control the sea snot outbreak:
- The entire Sea of Marmara has been declared as a protected area
- A massive clean-up operation has been started by the authorities using tanker trucks with suction hoses that effectively act like giant vacuum cleaners
- In order to prevent the smudge from recurring, immediate steps will be taken to control water pollution and improve the wastewater treatment
- The local people, NGOs, environment activists and artists have also joined hands in the cleaning campaign
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