Bodrum faces serious sea pollution threat, warn experts

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Bodrum’s marina is facing threat of “becoming like the Marmara Sea,” experts are warning, saying boats are dumping bilge water into the sea near the port causing pollution.

Pollution in Türkiye’s seas is increasing by the day due to chemical, industrial agricultural as well as domestic waste and Bodrum, one of Türkiye’s major holiday destinations in the western province of Muğla, is also suffering from the same problem, prompting experts to make stark warnings.

“Boats, which anchor just off the Bodrum marina, are discharging bilge water into the sea. This is in fact forbidden and there are heavy fines for doing this. The waste boats are dumping is polluting the sea in Bodrum,” said Arif Yılmaz from the Bodrum City Council.

The Coast Guard is inspecting whether boats are complying with a special regulation, called “Blue Card,” under which boats are required to dispose of their waste, depending on the boat’s tonnage and people on board, regularly at a waste collection site, Yılmaz said.

“But the capacity of the waste collection facility at the port, which was launched and is being operated by the Muğla Municipality, is insufficient. This is the high tourism season and large numbers of boats are visiting Bodrum. There must be personnel on duty at this facility around the clock, but this is not happening,” he added.

Ayşe Temiz, an archaeologist and member of the Karia Cultural Heritage Group, said she also spotted foam under the sea surface.

“The port is not capable of handling this heavy boat traffic. We see boats waiting off the coast for a long time. The waste those boats produce is collected regularly and boat owners are required to pay for this service. It is no secret that some boatowners dump the bilge water in order to avoid this service fee,” Temiz explained.

“We are really concerned that Bodrum will have the same fate as the Marmara Sea.”

Mucilage, a thick and slimy substance made up of compounds released by marine organisms, surfaced on the Marmara Sea in May 2021, and invaded a large area in the following June, alarming marine biologists and environmentalists. The government is taking actions to prevent the reemergence of mucilage and other measures to keep the Marmara Sea clean.

Thanks to the collection system installed at the Bodrum marina, 25 boats can discharge their waste into the sewage system at the same time, said officials from the Muğla Municipality, noting that the marina has a capacity to serve up to 200 boats.

They added that private companies collect the waste from the boats which anchor off Bodrum.

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