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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

Main Campus elects its first black SRC president
2009-08-22

 Mr Moses Masitha

Mr Moses Masitha, B.A. Philosophy student and SASCO candidate, is the first black President of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Student Representative Council (SRC) for the Main Campus.

The results for the SRC and Student Parliament of the UFS’s Main Campus were announced today after the elections, which took place on Wednesday, 19 August 2009. Mr Masitha was Vice-President (External) in 2007/2008.

This year, four organisations, namely SASCO, FF+ Kovsies, the DA and COPESM, took part in the elections. Altogether 6 174 students took part in the voting this year, while 6 926 students voted last year.

On the proportional representation SASCO obtained 48,2% votes, FF+ Kovsies 43%, the DA 5% and COPESM 3,8%.

The election was declared free and fair by Prof. Thomas Acho, Chief Electoral Officer of the Independent Electoral Agency (IEA).

“The UFS management wishes to thank the IEA for the professional manner in which they independently managed the whole election process. The management will, as always, provide our full support to the efforts of the newly elected student leadership as well as the representatives of various student organisations in the realisation of the university’s objectives,” said Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Deputy Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za  
21 August 2009


 

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