What Is My Impact?

Mert Kahveci

Marmara Sea pollution is not a problem that has emerged in the past few years. The visible manifestation of this long-standing issue is the mucilage. It is crucial for everyone to collaborate in unity for the Marmara Sea, which holds economic, social, and cultural significance for our country. According to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mustafa YÜCEL, scientific modeling indicates that a 50% reduction in waste could lead to improvement and increased oxygen levels in the Marmara Sea within 5-6 years.2

The "Müsilajsız Marmara" (Mucilage-Free Marmara) movement offers activity suggestions under the themes "do," "don't do," "repair," and "reduce" for anyone wanting to be part of the solution.

The core of the issue is that the stagnant structural problem of the sea cannot be changed. However, each of us can contribute to change for climate change and pollution burden, bringing it to our seas.

Due to the high population density, the pollution burden is quite high. For domestic waste:

  • Prevention of water waste at home and offices,
  • Reuse of aging or discarded home/office products,
  • Increasing examples of advanced recycling,
  • Limiting the use of disposable materials (plastic, paper, napkins, etc.) at home and offices,
  • Use of cloth bags and mesh bags,
  • Separation and composting of organic waste,
  • Preference for environmentally friendly products such as detergents, toothpaste, bleach, etc., and reducing their usage in home/office cleaning and personal hygiene.
2 Rotary Kulübü, 2021, MÜSİLAJ SORUNU VE MARMARA’NIN GELECEĞİ, Panel ve Çalıştay Raporu

The Effects of Mucilage

The Effects of Mucilage Our seas are our economic, social, and cultural resources. The problems here affect not only marine life but also all of our lives.

Caddebostan Musilaj

Caddebostan Mucilage In the region, there are 445 industrial facilities, organized and free industrial zones. For industrial waste:

  • Strengthening the capacities of wastewater treatment plants,
  • Treatment of wastewater,
  • Making treated wastewater reusable in processes, garden irrigation, and domestic use,
  • Researching alternative, environmentally friendly, and renewable raw materials,
  • Establishing effective collaborations based on the logic of "one's waste is another's treasure" for companies,
  • Widespread use of advanced biological wastewater treatment plants,
  • Benefiting from nature-friendly, circular economy business models, and implementing eco-designed production techniques,
  • Transitioning from a linear economy model to a circular economy model and a change focusing on sustainability.

The pollution burden from agricultural sources is directly related to the Marmara Region. Substances such as nitrate, nitrogen, and phosphorus, which increase due to improper fertilization and irrigation in the soil, affect the sea. For agriculture-related pollution:

  • Benefiting from renewable energy technologies, widespread adoption, and encouragement of advanced agricultural techniques,
  • Prevention of water waste by preventing wild irrigation in agriculture,
  • Prevention of improper fertilization. Informing and directing farmers correctly, providing support,
  • The current uncontrolled fishing has disrupted the ecosystem balance.
Source: t24

The decrease in fish, the increase in invasive species, and intense pollution most affect small-scale fishermen. For fishing:

  • Ecosystem-based fishing activities,
  • Cutting and not releasing stuck nets into the sea,
  • Prevention of banned and uncontrolled fishing.

Every year, 40,000 ships pass through the Sea of Marmara. The waste discharged by ships creates a pollution burden, and ballast waters (the water taken from the sea by ships for proper maneuvering and balance) disrupt biodiversity. For maritime activities:

  • Creating and implementing feasible ballast water management plans,
  • Preventing the discharge of silt from bilges (the lowest part where leaked water and oil from the ship's engine and boiler rooms are stored) into the Sea of Marmara.
Source: t24

The Civil Society sector is among the public and citizens. Efforts made by public authorities with the volunteerism of citizens can be supported. For relevant non-governmental organizations:

  • Representation of large masses affected by this problem can be ensured,
  • Regular tracking and reporting for sensitive and active citizens can be done,
  • Campaigns can be planned, and projects can be developed for Marmara Sea pollution,
  • Unbiased, accurate, and transparent access to field information can be provided.