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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

New electoral body for student elections
2004-07-24

The University of the Free State (UFS) has appointed the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) to handle the upcoming election of the Student Representative Council (SRC) and Student Parliament on the main campus.

"EISA specialises in elections and have done vast research on the subject"said Dr Natie Luyt, acting Dean: Student Affairs at the UFS.

Dr Luyt said that the UFS wanted an electoral body that can act as neutral and objective as possible. "EISA is a credible electoral body with the necessary knowledge and expertise. We have full confidence that they will ensure a free and fair election on campus"said Dr Luyt.

"EISA is a neutral party and our main aim is to promote democracy through the process of elections"said Mr Seth Phamuli, Chief Electoral Officer of EISA's UFS election campaign.

Mr Phamuli said that EISA has handled the SRC and Council elections of several other tertiary institutions in the country. These include among others the University of the Witwatersrand , the University of the North, Unitra, Wits Technicon, Vista and Pretoria Technicon. "EISA also acts as the secretariat for the Southern African Developing Countries (SADC) as far as elections are concerned and manages the election processes of various parastatal bodies in the country"said Mr Phamuli.

No changes to the constitution of the SRC have been made for this year's election. "The UFS Council decided last year that any changes to the constitution of the SRC should be submitted for consideration by the Council meeting which took place in June. However, the amendments were submitted late - after the closing date for agenda items to be added"said Dr Luyt.

The elections on the main campus will take place on 11 August 2004 .


MEDIA RELEASE
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: (051) 401-2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za 25 Julie 2004

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