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18 April 2019 | Story Rulanzen Martin

The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice IRSJ) has initiated a Social Justice Week at the University of the Free State (UFS), which started on Friday 12 April  until Wednesday 17 April 2019. 

Ten key events took place during the week. It ranged from dialogues, workshops, talk shows, debates, and interactive displays and events on issues of multilingualism and diversity, social innovation, engaged scholarship, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, gender sensitisation, sexual consent, sexual preparedness, universal access, disability, anti-discrimination, and security.

There was also a round-table discussion on 17 April 2019 with various UFS stakeholders on off-campus student security as well as an inter-institutional discussion on the same topic. The UFS Debating Society will take on the topic of the UFS Language Policy, while Olga Barends from the Free State Centre for Human Rights will host a dialogue on sexual consent.

The IRSJ has also designed and implemented SOJO-VATION: Social Innovation/ Social Change, which strives to create a foundational platform where ideas of social justice, innovation, and engaged scholarship at the UFS and in society can be hosted. SOJO-VATION partners with the Office for Student Leadership, Development, and Community Engagement.

The collaborating partners for the Social Justice Week includes various UFS stakeholders such as the Sasol library, the Gender and Sexual Equity Office, UFS Protection Services, the Free State Centre for Human Rights, the Student Representative Council (SRC), the Office for Student Leadership Development, Kovsie Innovation, GALA, the FFree State Centre for Human Rights, SRC Associations, the Office for Student Governance, Kovsie Innovate, Start-Up-Grind, EVC, EBL, Community Engagement, the Institutional Transformation Plan (ITP) Dialogues Office, Residence Dialogues, UFS Debating Society, Debate Afrika!, the Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS), and the Gateway Office. 

News Archive

The impact of personal care products on water resources in the Free State
2015-12-14

Jou-an Chen
Photo: Charl Devenish

Water is of the utmost importance in personal hygiene. Most people can hardly have a day go by without taking a shower in the morning and at night. However, it is this very habit that is increasingly polluting the water resources in South Africa.

Contaminants found in pharmaceutical and personal care products have been accumulating in water masses in recent years. These contaminants especially refer to hormones in medication, as well as colouring agents and fragrances used in soap, shampoo and body lotions.

“Little information and data are available on the prevalence of these contaminants, and on how high the level of pollution really is,” says Jou-an Chen, researcher in the Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology at the UFS.

Her research particularly focuses on the prevalence and impact of those contaminants.

“Because these substances have not been properly investigated, we are not sure how widely it occurs and whether it is harmful to the environment. It was precisely the lack of information that has inspired me to investigate further.”

“If we could identify the contaminants and what it is doing to the environment, it could make a valuable contribution to directives on water quality standards.”


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