Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2017 2018 2019 2020
Previous Archive
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

More grey areas than just black and white in history?
2017-12-15


Description: Abraham Mlombo readmore Tags: Historic, historian, International Studies Group, ISG  

Dr Abraham Mlombo: As a historian, he draws energy
from the people surrounding him.
Photo: Charl Devenish


 

Very few people understand that their actions and views within a territory stem from their roots or history. To enlighten the reading man on the composition of his base and the intricacies of the powers that are at play, is the work of historians.

Dr Abraham Mlombo is one of these historians, stationed within the International Studies Group at the University of the Free State (UFS).

This research group consists of postgraduate researchers, postdoctoral fellows, and academic staff that focus on African history, although they depart from more traditional study methods  a more global perspective. To date, Dr Mlombo's research examined the historical relations between South Africa and Southern Rhodesia. It was a broad study of the political, economic, social, and cultural relations from 1923 to 1953. He plans to continue by truly exploring the connections between South Africa and the region, and how they shaped one another. Dr Mlombo's interests in cross-border history and politics were inspired by his master’s degree in Political Science at Stellenbosch University. He researched his PhD at the UFS.

He draws energy for his work from the people surrounding him, and likes to be part of new experiences with people from different backgrounds. He feels such environments shape the way one works, as well as one’s world view. Dr Mlombo hints that sometimes, and specifically in South Africa, people focus very narrowly on their history and forget that many international links are at play. He sees his work as a historian to help open people's horizons.

Dr Mlombo suggests that future research should include a more critical analysis of how things unfolded during the second half of the 20th century. Writings should include more social- and people-oriented history, because he thinks there are more grey areas than just black and white. Many more interrogations must also follow into the assumptions of historical events and the individuals who played the greatest roles in Southern Africa.

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept