The public has been warned not to pick up dead marine life or to harvest living marine resources on the coast between Umhlanga and Umdloti north of Durban.

The eThekwini municipality has issued this warning after beaches north of the city were closed following a chemical spill in the past week – when looting and violence hit the area.

TV images have shown dead fish and crayfish lying on the beach at the Umhlanga Estuary.

Tests will be conducted to determine if the source of the pollution is a warehouse for agricultural chemicals and pesticides that was set alight by looters at Cornubia.

A specialised chemical clean-up company is trying to remove the spill and the dead marine and birdlife.

The KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs visited the area on Saturday afternoon.

Head of the Environmental Management Unit at the department in KwaZulu-Natal, Sphume Nowele, speaks to SABC News on the matter: