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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

New head for Student Academic Services
2009-03-05

The University of the Free State (UFS) has appointed Mr Frank Madimetja Nkoana, pictured, as the new Director of Student Academic Services (SAS).

Mr Nkoana has a wealth of experience having worked for 24 years in the field of academic administration, 14 of which have been in leadership and senior management positions, at various institutions of higher learning.

In this post he will supervise applications, admissions, financial aid and registrations through to graduations.

The Director: Student Academic Services has a pivotal role to play in developing and supporting the University’s educational agenda.

“I consider my appointment to the Division as the correct one at the right time and a blessing to the UFS in view of my experience and training in the field of academic administration,” he said.

He believes it is only through effective and efficient academic support services that the institution can achieve excellence in its academic endeavour in tandem with its vision of being “an excellent, equitable and innovative University”.

“I must see to it that SAS, as both a sector and a process, is sufficiently and appropriately supported and maintained through an effective administrative structure that is manned by skilled and well-trained personnel, adding thereto continuous development and job enhancement – thus creating a conducive environment for efficiency and effective service delivery to students, staff and the wider community,” he said.

However, he is also mindful of the challenges facing him and the Division. He considers as his main challenge, among others, the creation of a Division that is functionally able and has as its goal the achievement and provision of effective academic administrative support to the core university business.

“Our operations should be in line with new developments in academic administrative systems to enable the UFS to achieve academic excellence and global competitiveness,” said Mr Nkoana.

“We must be able to establish and strengthen a high level of ethos of service delivery and develop good human relations between the staff and the students.”

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@ufs.ac.za  
05 March 2009
 

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