Turkey has committed to defeating the plague of "sea snot" that has threatened its marine ecosystem.
The environment minister said the country has a disaster management plan to counter the plague.
The sea snot spreading throughout the Sea of Marmara is a thick slimy layer of organic matter comprised of coagulated marine snow. While the gelatinous substance - known as marine mucilage - isn't harmful but too much might suffocate marine life.
The spread of the mucus-like organic matter might also attract viruses and bacteria which can wreak havoc on the ecosystem. The glob of dense organic matter has already spread across the sea south of Istanbul - clogging harbors and shorelines.
Marine ecologists said some of the viscous, grayish substance has already sunk below the waves and killed life on the seabed.
Environment minister Murat Kurum said the country was planning to declare the entire Sea of Marmara a protected area. The ministry will enforce measures to reduce pollution and enhance the area's treatment of wastewater - both of which have contributed to the spread of sea snot.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blamed the sea snot plague on the proliferation of unregulated wastewater dumping. Erdoğan has promised to "clear out seas from the mucilage scourge" by addressing the illegal dumping of untreated water from major cities.
Kurum said the ministry was asking residents, NGOs and environmental groups to join the cleanup. Kurum said initial operations will begin Tuesday.
"Hopefully, together we will protect our Marmara within the framework of a disaster management plan. We will take all the necessary steps within three years and realize the projects that will save not only the present but also the future together," Kurum said.
Under the ministry's multiyear action plan, Kurum said the government is hoping to reduce nitrogen levels in the sea by as much as 40%. Kurum said scientists believed the reduction would help restore the waters to their previous state.