The greatest threat to the many scenic, species-rich estuaries strung along South Africa's long coastline is not climate change, but ribbon housing development fuelled by greedy municipalities, says an expert.
"Climate change is happening, but development is the more immediate threat," Janine Adams of the Nelson Mandela University told Sapa.
Speaking at the Implementing Environmental Water Allocations (IEWA) conference under way in Port Elizabeth, she said of South Africa's 256 estuaries, about half were still in what could be described as a good condition.
"Removing estuarine habitat to make room for development is the big immediate threat.
"We have a lot of local municipalities that have to make money, and they pass development plans that should never have got through the system at all.
"This has resulted in the removal of estuarine habitat," she said. - Sapa