İstanbul mayor reveals sewage pumped into Marmara Sea before his time in office

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Amid a “sea snot” outbreak in the Sea of Marmara, İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has announced that he learned after taking office in June 2019 that İstanbul’s sewage was being directly pumped into the Marmara Sea.

A member of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and an outspoken critic of ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) policies for İstanbul, İmamoğlu made these remarks on Twitter on Friday amid the controversy surrounding efforts to save the Marmara Sea from a thick, slimy layer of mucus-like matter known as “sea snot,” which has raised concerns about the future of marine life and the fishing industry in the region.

İmamoğlu in his tweet put the blame for the sea snot squarely on İstanbul’s previous mayors from the AKP.

İmamoğlu also posted a video on Twitter in which the projects for dealing with sewage and wastewater management undertaken by the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality during the two years he has been in office were described.

According to a report from Marmara Environmental Monitoring (MAREM), the main reason for the sea snot outbreak in the Marmara is untreated sewage, which leads the upper levels of the seawater to reach higher temperatures, leading to sea snot buildup.

The first time the sea snot problem was documented in the Marmara was in 2007. Turkey’s ruling AKP is being harshly criticized for ignoring environmentalists’ concerns and allowing damage to the environment and marine life by pressing ahead with giant construction projects.

Turkish Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Adil Karaismailoğlu on Tuesday had attracted criticism after arguing that the controversial Kanal İstanbul, a proposed artificial waterway in İstanbul that has triggered financial and environmental concerns, would end the sea snot spreading through the Marmara Sea.

İmamoğlu had criticized Karaismailoğlu’s remarks as being far from scientific.

Meanwhile, Environment Minister Murat Kurum at a meeting in the northwestern province of Kocaeli on Sunday had unveiled a disaster management action plan to deal with sea snot by reducing pollution and improving the treatment of wastewater from coastal cities and ships.

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