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

Department celebrates 50th anniversary
2009-03-25

 
The first Departmental Head and the subsequent Departmental Chairpersons at the dinner on 14 March this year. From left: Proff Bernard Prior (1991-1998), Piet Lategan (1962-1990), Derek Litthauer (1998-2002) and James du Preez (2002-). These are all the Heads/Chairpersons of the Department since its founding in 1959, with the exception of Prof Hans Potgieter who acted as Head during 1959-1962.
Photo: Stephen Collett
 
Department celebrates 50th anniversary

On 13 March the Department Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology at the University of the Free State (UFS) celebrated its 50th anniversary in a splendid fashion with a lecture entitled, The origin of life: Exactly how did life begin? as part of the Darwin commemorative lecture series, followed by a reunion of current and former staff members and postgraduate students of the department with a barbeque on the following day.

The proceedings were concluded on 14 March with a gala dinner in die Centenary Complex at the UFS attended by 153 staff members, post-graduate students (current and former) and other guests. During the dinner the guests were treated to a presentation of historical photos of the founding and development of the department. Currently the department is one of the largest departments in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences in respect of the number of staff members and students as well as research outputs. This is the result of entrepreneurial actions to increase student numbers and research activities, as well as the merging with the smaller Department of Biochemistry in 1988 and more recently with the Department of Food Science in 2002. The department comprises 20 academics, 24 support staff and 65 postgraduate students. It also boasts 12 lecturers with ratings from the National Research Foundation (NRF), which include three academics with a B-rating, an indication of international recognition for their research. The department has the largest number of lecturers with an NRF-rating at the UFS. 

“It was interesting to learn during the reunion of the variety of professions occupied by former students of the department, i.e. at other tertiary educational institutions, the CSSIR, SAPPI, Sasol and a multitude of other industries, as well as at research institutions in the USA and Australia,” said Prof. James du Preez, Head of the Department.

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