A new study has found that some of the homes being built on top of coral reefs are likely to be sold for profit.
Researchers at the University of Cape Town found that almost 20 percent of homes on the island of Maasai in South Africa had been sold to developers for the purpose of residential development.
“We found that at least one-third of the residential units on the reef are being marketed as residential units by developers, and almost a third of the houses are being sold for residential development,” Dr. Ewa Hlodzka, the study’s lead author and a researcher at the university’s Centre for Coral Reef Studies, told ABC News.
Hodzkal told ABC that this is a “major concern” because “in many cases, these are properties that are not in the public interest.”
She said that the homes are being built to “maximize revenue from tourists and international development.”
“This is the reason why the tourism sector is growing so fast, and the reason they are able to build houses on top the reefs,” she said.
“So if the value of these properties is used to buy more tourism development, that could be a real problem.”
She noted that the number of homes being developed on top coral reefs is growing by an average of 2 percent a year.
In some cases, there is an average home being built for $5 million and the value is rising by about $20 million per year.
The study said that this trend “will continue to grow as more people visit the island in order to escape the heat, drought, pollution and other stresses of living on the coast.”
Hodlak’s team conducted an analysis of data from five years worth of data gathered by the Ministry of Tourism, which included data on land sales, building permits and development applications for land.
They also reviewed historical data on housing on the islands.
The researchers concluded that about two-thirds of homes sold on the reefs were in residential developments.
This means that between 20 and 40 percent of the reefs homes are now being built in this way.
In addition, they also found that about 40 percent had been constructed in areas where the area was already “saturated with housing.”
They said that more data is needed to determine if the trend is actually continuing.
“There are a lot of houses being built that have no environmental benefit, and this is the result of the land being sold,” Hlody said.
“And it is also the result, unfortunately, of the tourists coming in and driving out people who would otherwise live there.”
Hlody told ABC this is not the first time that Maasau’s government has taken action against developers for land-use development on the mainland.
In the late 1980s, Maasian President and Prime Minister Mpande Mokweni banned the construction of more than five dwellings per hectare on the country’s two most important coral reefs, and other government policies were also put in place to prevent further land-based development.
In 2003, a similar decision was made to block construction of a third, larger coral reef in the same area.