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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

Architecture does it again!
2009-03-27

 

From the left are: Prof. Jan Smit, Head of the Department of Architecture at the UFS, Wim Steenkamp, National Corobrik Architecture Student of the Year 2008, and Ms Petria Jooste-Smit, Wim's tutor and former lecturer at the department.
Photo: Stephen Collett

Architecture does it again!

A student from the Department of Architecture at the University of the Free State (UFS), Wim Steenkamp, was recently named National Corobrik Architecture Student of the Year 2008.

This is the second time in the past three years that a student from the department has won this prestigious competition.

The award, given to the best student in his/her final year of the M.Arch. (Prof) degree in South Africa, entails prize money to the value of R40 000.

“The competition was of a high standard and we are extremely proud of Wim. Seven architecture departments of universities and universities of technology took part in the competition. Students had to submit the final project that was used to obtain their professional degree. This entails the design, technical drawings, a model of a building of their choice as well as a thesis explaining the theory and approach,” said Prof. Jan Smit, Head of the Department of Architecture at the UFS.

In his project, Wim created and designed “a memorable place for the Herero culture and their history through an architectural intervention in the desert/cultural landscape”. His tutor was Ms Petria Jooste-Smit, a former lecturer at the department.

According to Prof. Smit, the department has already won this competition six times out of the 22 times it has been presented. “This once again confirms the high regard the department has in the architecture field in South Africa. It is also proof of the quality of our staff and the programmes we offer,” said Prof. Smit.

The past year was an exceptional one for the department. It received unconditional accreditation from the South African Council for the Architecture Profession (SACAP) for all three courses offered; and its students won the Tripod Photography Competition, the National Cement and Concrete Institute Competition for honours students, and the Carl and Emily Fuchs Foundation Student Prestigious Prize.

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  
26 March 2009

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