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Masks floating in the sea... The sea suffering during the pandemic


(Shahika Erkumen Instagram)

The Turkish sea is also suffering from COVID19 waste. Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reported that COVID19 trash, such as masks and gloves, was leaking into the sea. (Shahika Erkumen Instagram)


Shahika Erkumen, who is also a 35-year-old freediving player and has a world record, began underwater purification activities on the Bosphorus Strait on the 30th of last month. The Bosphorus Strait, which has been a base for international trade since ancient times, is popular as a tourist spot because it has superb views along both sides. However, it was all sorts of plastic garbage that unfolded before Erkumen's eyes plunged into the sea.


Erkumen said, “I've been navigating the sea for more than a decade, and the trash is growing day by day. "There are more floating trash than fish swimming together. Especially with Pandemic, there was a surge in corona-related waste such as masks and gloves," she said.



On this day, Erkumen collected a significant amount of masks, gloves, disinfection containers, and plastic bags from the Bosphorus Strait. She said, "Disposing of such garbage without proper separation increases the risk of spreading the virus."


“We often see sea creatures at risk from plastic waste, such as plastic or sea turtles on the net. I wonder how fish can live in such an environment, and how we believe and eat such seafood. We see only about 15% of the total amount of marine debris we see at sea level. The remaining 85% is in that deep sea. "It cannot be easily collected," she said. "There is a limit to diving and cleaning the sea. I didn't want to get the attention of the world media in this way. I hope to see the clean sea next time.”


After the pandemic, COVID19-related waste has been found in the oceans around the world. In May, a French environmental group also reported collecting dozens of masks and latex gloves during sea cleaning. A group official said, “If no changes are made, ecological disaster will be overwhelmed. Soon there will be more masks in the Mediterranean than jellyfish.”



In February, Hong Kong's environmental group Oceans Asia collected corona19 garbage from Soko Beach. The group said, “It was only six weeks after the corona spread that related wastes flowed into the sea.


According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), in 2018, 13 million tons of plastic waste flowed into the world's oceans. Even the flow has already exceeded 100 million tons. As a result, at least 600 marine organisms have been placed in the crossroads of life and death. In addition, concerns are growing as masks and gloves made of plastic materials such as polypropylene (PP) and non-woven fabrics are additionally introduced.

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