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

Successful conviction on edible oil adulteration
2009-03-28

A successful conviction in the South African food industry for selling diluted olive oil under the guise of virgin olive oil was handed down in the Special Commercial Crimes Court in Durban this week.

Salvatore Pollizi, owner of the company Ital Distributors, pleaded guilty in terms of Section 105A of the Crime Prosecuting Act to selling fake virgin olive oil under the names of Antico Frantoio and Ulivo.

He was sentenced to a fine of R250 000 or three years’ imprisonment, of which R130 000 or 18 months imprisonment is suspended for five years, on condition that he is not found guilty of fraud or theft or an attempt to commit such crimes during the period of suspension.

The offence was committed in 2001 when the scandal involving olive oil being mixed with a cheaper edible oil and being sold as the more expensive virgin olive oil was uncovered by scientists from the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein, in collaboration with Mr Guido Costas, The Olive Growers’ Association, AgriInspec and the South African Police Services.

According to Prof. Lodewyk Kock, Head of the South African Fryer Oil Initiative (SAFOI) that is based at the UFS, the conviction is to his knowledge the first successful conviction of this kind in the South African food industry.

Prof. Kock said, “The court’s decision on Monday, 23 March 2009 is good news to our country and sends out a dire warning to all fraudsters in the food industry.”

He attributed the successful conviction to the active and enthusiastic participation by Advocate Joanna Bromley-Gans from the Special Commercial Crime Unit (SCCU) in Durban, Captain Pragasen Govender from the Serious Economic Offences Unit (SEOU) in Pretoria and the team from SAFOI.

Prof. Kock said that in 2003 some of the prominent members of the edible oil industry took responsibility for the authenticity of their own oils by appointing outside laboratories for routine monitoring.

In some cases a seal of approval from such laboratories is displayed on the monitored oil containers. This is an attempt to inform oil distributors, shop buyers and consumers that these oils have been monitored by an outside laboratory for authenticity.

This “policing” has been supported by major role players in the fast-food sector like Nando’s, Spur, Captain Dorego’s, King Pie Holdings, etc. and various oil distributors like Felda Bridge Africa, Willowton Oil & Cake Mills, Refill Oils, etc.

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
27 March 2009




 

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