Coasts and estuaries are dynamic areas of great economic and environmental importance and are the final recipient of much of the pollution carried by rivers. They are also affected by pollution which occurs at sea and from our beaches.
Coastal areas are used for fishing, aquaculture, mineral extraction, industrial development, energy generation, tourism and recreation, and for waste disposal. They are also important for protecting the land from the influence of the sea.
An estuary is a partially enclosed area of water on the coast where saltwater from the sea mixes with fresh water from rivers and streams. The movement of tides causes coastal areas and estuaries to be either under water or exposed to the air at different times of the day. These characteristics create an environment which is different from both the freshwater river and the sea. These areas are known as transitional waters.
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