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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 mourns the death of a former Rector
2008-06-23



Photo: Prof. Wynand Mouton, last year during the launch of the UFS's Centenary Book.
 

It is with great sadness that the management of the University of the Free State (UFS) heard of the death of Prof. Wynand Mouton (79), former Rector of the UFS.

Prof. Mouton passed away this weekend in the Ferncrest Hospital in Rustenburg as a result of a cardiac arrest. He was visiting his son, Dr Wynand Mouton in Rustenburg when he fell ill three weeks ago and was admitted to hospital. Prof. Mouton’s wife, Daleen, passed away in April this year.

Prof. Mouton was Rector of the UFS from 1976-1988. His ties with the UFS stretch over 60 years. He studied for the B.Sc. degree at the UFS in 1948 and obtained doctorates in Physics and Nuclear Physics in 1960 and 1962, respectively, at the University of Utrecht.

Before his appointment as Rector of the UFS, Prof. Mouton was the first Vice-Rector of the University of Stellenbosch. He was jointly responsible for the establishment of the UFS Sasol Library and helped to stabilise the Development Trust Fund.

“Prof. Mouton left deep footprints at the UFS. He led the UFS to become a foremost research university in the country. Under his leadership, extensive sports fields were also developed on the west campus, including Shimla Park. He enlarged the university’s art collection and saw to it that student productions were staged in a modern, well-equipped theatre (later named after him),” says Prof. Teuns Verschoor, Acting Rector of the UFS.

“I am glad that we could honour him for this and other valuable contributions in 2004 with a Centenary Medal before he passed away,” says Prof. Verschoor.

Prof. Mouton was Chairman of the UFS Council from 1991-1996 and Chancellor of the UFS from 1996-1999. In 1995 he received an honorary doctorate from the UFS.

“Our sympathies go to Prof. Mouton’s children, Wynand, Hendrik and Ms Saretha Curry, as well as his three grandchildren,” says Prof. Verschoor.

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
23 June 2008

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