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04 June 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Charl Devenish
Prof Cathryn Tonne
Air pollution not only costs lives, it costs money too. Pictured is Prof Cathryn Tonne presenting a guest lecture on air pollution at the Bloemfontein Campus.

Health effects associated with ambient air pollution (AAP) have been well documented. Subsequently, the relationship between pollution and financial outcomes have also become a focus for case studies globally. An Environmental Research journal article revealed that “low and middle-income countries are disproportionately affected by the global burden of adverse health effects caused by AAP”. 

A high price to pay

In 2012, high concentrations of air pollution caused 7.4% of all deaths, costing South Africa up to 6% of its Gross Domestic Product. According to the recent International Growth Centre study conducted by senior University of Cape Town researchers, this is a direct consequence of the country’s heavy dependence of fossil fuels, a source of health-damaging air pollution and greenhouse pollutants.

Stunted human and economic growth

These South African statistics are attested to by Prof Cathryn Tonne who recently presented a guest lecture on air pollution which was hosted by the University of the Free State (UFS) Business School.

“Air pollution can affect economic development through several pathways, and health is an important one. Air pollution is linked to shorter life expectancy, chronic disease, asthma exacerbation and many other health outcomes that result in absenteeism from work and school. These have large direct costs to the health system.” 

Prof Tonne says that air pollution exposure in children is linked to reduced cognitive development, with important impacts on human capital. As a result, children are not reaching their full potential in terms of neurodevelopment, which has an effect on their income prospects and the economy as a whole. 

Resolving a looming disaster

Technology may be employed to radically clean the air. Cities need to lead in the reduction of air pollution by promoting renewable energy, using active transport such as walking or cycling, and investing in infrastructure to make this safe and attractive. 

With researchers playing a major role in strengthening the case for aggressive air pollution control, the government needs to implement policies in order to control sources of air pollution. This global health and economic issue also requires individuals and communities to play their part to improve air quality.

News Archive

UFS Council appoints agency to assist with its residence integration policy
2008-06-06

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) has appointed the Cape Town based iGubu Leadership Agency to assist with its residence integration policy.

“The agency will assist management in understanding and identifying the current obstacles related to the implementation of the residence integration policy, draw up proposals to enhance and successfully implement this integration policy, and implement these proposals to ensure successful integration within the 21 residences on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein,” says Prof. Teuns Verschoor, Acting Rector of the UFS.

The agency was appointed after an intensive advertising, screening and interviewing process was conducted by the university’s management. A recommendation on the successful candidate was subsequently made to the Council and the iGubu Leadership Agency was informed of its appointment this past week,” says Prof. Verschoor.

“Some of the projects that we have been involved in include the development and management of student leadership at among others the universities of Stellenbosch and Cape Town as well as the Huguenot College, and leadership initiatives such as the Beeld Youth Summit and last year’s Brightest Young Minds conference,” says Mr Rudi Buys, Chief Executive Officer. He will be working with Mr Yeki Mosomothane, Strategy Manager of the agency and a diverse team of facilitators.

Their main focus will be on investigating the trust relationships between stakeholders, establishing healthy relationships between students and the development of the skills of student leaders to establish conversations on values and meaningful change in residences and the student community.

“In the first phase of the project we will be conducting research and talk to students and other role players regarding ways of building unity on campus. After that the kind of programmes that may be implemented to further integration in residences will be determined together with stakeholders and the most suitable ones will be implemented. We will emphasise ownership and participation of processes by students and other stakeholders to ensure sustainability,” says Mr Buys.

The contract is for two and a half years and the agency must regularly report to Council via management on its progress. “We see this appointment as an investment in the integration of our residences and look forward to the interventions iGubu Leadership Agency can bring to the table,” says Prof. Verschoor.

The agency specialises in mentoring individuals and teams and in facilitating the participation of communities in transformation and reconciliation initiatives in specifically an African context, and does so from a leadership development perspective. The agency has extensive experience in facilitating programmes for diversity and integration.

iGubu Leadership Agency’s appointment goes hand in hand with the appointment of other agencies who will support management and make recommendations on how to accelerate transformation and position the UFS as an engaged and responsive university.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel:  051 401 2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za
6 June 2008

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