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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

CD-ROM for learning Afrikaans as foreign language launched
2009-04-30

 
At the launch of the CD-Rom, Gesellig Afrikaans, are from the left: Ms Riana de Beer, Research Assistant at the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French, Mr Christo Steyn from Bare Creative who did the digitalisation of the CD-ROM, Prof. Van Niekerk, Prof. Engela Pretorius, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of the Humanities, Prof. Driekie Hay, Vice-Rector: Academic Planning, and Mr François Marais, Director of the Centre for Higher Education Studies and Development at the UFS.
Photo: Lacea Loader
The Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French at the University of the Free State (UFS) recently launched a CD-ROM course to learn Afrikaans as foreign language at the Main Campus in Bloemfontein.

For the past ten years the Department has been offering a course in Afrikaans as foreign language to small groups at the UFS. “However, the need for this course has escalated to such an extent on the Main and Qwaqwa Campuses of the UFS that we have decided to produce the CD-ROM. We have also found that not a lot of courses to learn Afrikaans were available. Those that do exist, do not recognise the needs of adult learners,” said Prof. Angelique van Niekerk from the Department.

“International students are often interested in learning new cultures and languages and staff members would also like to learn Afrikaans in order to understand the language better. Now they are able to master the basic principles and concepts of the language,” said Prof. Van Niekerk.

The course, which will be presented on the Main Campus, comprises a basic and an advanced course. Course attendants will receive both these CD-ROMs. English is used as the back-up language and translations of all the texts are available on the CD. Contemporary Afrikaans music is used to assist in fixing sound patterns, and the pronunciation of Afrikaans sounds, words and sentences is available through the sound component of the course. Uncomplicated language jokes, advertisement texts and cartoons are used to enhance the course content and a vocabulary list and list of idiomatic language uses will be kept updated by the learners. Explanations of basic grammatical constructions are given in both Afrikaans and English and learners are assessed at the end of the course. Aspects like word order, temporal indications, etc. are covered amongst other things.

“Mastering a foreign language is time-consuming and contact with the language is very important. Although there is a contact session with a facilitator of two hours per week, it is a handy course for people who cannot attend classes regularly,” said Prof. Van Niekerk.

The CD-ROM is available from at Prof. Angelique van Niekerk, vnieka.hum@ufs.ac.za, Tel. no. 051-4012339, at R150 per CD.


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  
28 April 2009

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