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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

“Arts Festival” Rally promises to be great fun!
2008-06-17

The annual Amazing Rainbow Rally, presented by the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Department of Paediatrics and Child Health and UFS Marketing, will take place on Friday, 11 July 2008 during the Volksblad Arts Festival on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein.

Teams will start at 12:00 at the Protea Hotel in Nelson Mandela Drive, before proceeding to the campus. This year’s rally will have a new twist, namely that all the checkpoints will be on the campus.

Corporate companies in Bloemfontein and departments at the UFS may still enter as there is still place for four teams. A team consists of two team members who must work together to complete a route with various checkpoints. Teams must complete tasks at every checkpoint to be able to proceed to the next checkpoint. The team, who finishes first after having successfully completed all the tasks, is the winner. Last year, Pieter Skein and Steyn Strauss of Naudés Attorneys were the winners of the rally.

The “Arts Festival” Rally promises to challenge teams physically, mentally and even artistically. Festival goers will also have the opportunity to see how their favourite team is doing.

The rally will be presented for the fourth time in 2008. The main goal of this year’s rally is to raise funds for the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health’s “Beds of Hope” Campaign. This campaign seeks to increase the number of intensive care beds in the paediatric and neonatal wards. Currently, around 250 children and babies in central South Africa cannot receive the life-saving care they need because of a lack of facilities.

Enquiries about the rally can be directed to Ms Adéle van Aswegen at 051 401 3535 or Ms Ilse Smalberger at 051 401 2415.

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  
17 June 2008
 

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