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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

Government to benefit from training of interpreters
2009-03-31

 
Pictured, from the left, are: Prof Theo du Plessis (Director: Unit for Language Management, UFS), Ms Mokone Nthongoa (HOD: Sport, FS Department of Sport, Arts and Culture), Mr Khotso Sesele (MEC: FS Department of Sport, Arts and Culture) and Prof Engela Pretorius (Vice Dean: Faculty of the Humanities, UFS).
Photo: Mangaliso Radebe
Government to benefit from training of interpreters

The fourth phase of a project to train eight conference interpreters and 30 community interpreters to assist government departments at service delivery points in the Free State was launched this week.

The project is part of the Multilingualism Information Development Programme which brings together the Free State provincial government, the Province of Antwerp and the University of Antwerp in Belgium and the University of the Free State (UFS).

Speaking at the launch of the fourth phase of the project, the MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture in the Free State, Mr Khotso Sesele, said: “The fact that we have been through the first three stages of this project, and are now launching its fourth phase, is indicative of the magnificent progress that has been made. This is a sign that through partnerships we can achieve more.”

The MIDP IV consists of two pillars, namely a practical and a research component. Its aim is to generate interpreting capacity within the provincial Department of Sport, Arts and Culture. The focus is on training an interpreting team over three years which can be employed within a governmental context at various service points.

“As we approach the 2009 FIFA Confederation Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup tournaments, it will be important for our communities to be able to interact with millions of foreign nationals who will be in our country from different world destinations during and beyond these two important soccer events,” said the MEC.

“The focus on interpreter training by this fourth phase of MIDP is thus an important factor in ensuring better communication during and beyond these important soccer spectacles that will take place in our country.”
The focus of the first three phases of the MIDP was on the main official languages of the province. This fourth phase, which started in 2008, will run until 2010 and its focus is on the Xhariep District Municipality.

“The provision of interpreting services and its further extension to district municipalities will provide the necessary interpreting skills to our communities that will enhance better interaction amongst ourselves,” said Mr Sesele.

He said the fact that indigenous languages have been “elevated from their marginalised status to being languages of business and commerce” is an important milestone that must be cherished.

This fourth phase of MIDP will also incorporate sign language as part of its focus on interpreting services.

“In our quest to ensure a multilingual dispensation in our province, we need not neglect to remember people with disabilities,” he said. “This is a matter of principle that does not require debate.”

“We should thus ensure the realisation of the goal of MIDP IV which is to ensure smooth communication interaction within the wider public, including the deaf community.”

“This is a wonderful project,” said Ms Mathabo Monaheng, one of the students in the MIDP. “As a sign language interpreter trainee this project will empower me with the necessary skills to be able to make a meaningful contribution to the deaf community in terms of communication.”

The MIDP is funded by the Province of Antwerp and successfully implemented by the Unit for Language Management at the UFS.

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  
31 March 2009

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