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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

Faculty of Law congratulated on 100 years of Iurisprudentia
2009-11-05

Prof. Johan Henning, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the UFS and Prof. Barry Rider from the Jesus College at the University of Cambridge in the UK.
Photo: Stephen Collett

This year the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State (UFS) is celebrating a century of excellence in legal education under the theme “Iurisprudentia 100”. A number of prominent leaders in the international legal arena congratulated the faculty on this milestone achievement.

Prof. Harry Rajak, Emeritus Professor from the Sussex Law School at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom communicated his heartiest congratulations to the faculty. “It has been my great privilege and pleasure to have had, for many years now, a close association with the Faculty of Law of the UFS. I have enjoyed several visits to the Law Faculty, during which I have benefited enormously from the vibrant intellectual, scholarly and extremely friendly atmosphere which you have all created, as well as from the enthusiasm and intelligence of your students. I look forward to the continuation for many more years of this important and fruitful connection,” he said.

Prof. Barry Rider from the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies at the Jesus College at Cambridge University in the UK also congratulated and expressed his admiration towards the faculty. “The reputation for excellence in the teaching of law and in its scholarly research that your faculty has attained both in the Republic and internationally is a testament to the outstanding efforts and commitment of so many generations of scholars in Bloemfontein. I have been extraordinarily privileged to be associated with your faculty. The achievements of your faculty are truly impressive,” he said.

The faculty also received wishes of congratulations from Prof. Thomas Hurst, Research Scholar and Professor of Law from the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida in the United States of America. “The UFS has established itself as a world renowned leader in legal education,” he said.

Mr Anton Trichardt from Londsdale Chambers, Melbourne Australia also conveyed his best wishes to the faculty. “Your Faculty of Law has indeed been an example of excellence in legal education, training and research. The Centre for Business Law and its monograph series has been an unrivalled trend-setter in law,” he said.

Old Mutual also conveyed its wishes of congratulations.
 

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