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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

UFS appoints a Dean of Education
2009-11-06

 Prof. Dennis Francis,   Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of the Free State (UFS).


Prof. Dennis Francis from the University of KwaZulu-Natal has been appointed as Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of the Free State (UFS) as from 4 January 2010. He is the first dean of this faculty since it was established at the UFS earlier this year.

Prof. Francis has worked at the University of KwaZulu-Natal since 2002. Prior to his appointment at the UFS he was a Professor in the Faculty of Education and Head of the School of Social Science Education at that institution.

“I am overwhelmed and excited at the same time. Mostly, I feel privileged and honoured to be joining the Faculty of Education,” he said of his appointment.
“The Faculty of Education is newly constituted and there are endless possibilities and potential. So I am really excited to be here.”

“What attracted me to the UFS is the leadership and vision of Prof. Jonathan Jansen, the emergent energy that is here, and the possibilities for transformation and change that exist. But also the warmth and graciousness of the people that I have interacted with,” he said.

Prof. Francis has taught and supervised Master’s and Doctoral students in the area of social justice education, identity studies and sexuality education. He has published numerous articles in refereed national and international journals, chapters in edited collections, and four edited journal special issues. He is also the author of Between Race; Beyond Race. Prof. Francis is the current guest editor of the South African Journal of Higher Education Special Issue on Transformation and Social Cohesion in Higher Education.

He has delivered conference presentations in his fields of research at international conferences in India, USA, Brazil, Thailand, Greece, Malaysia, Mauritius, UK and South Africa, as well as a further fifteen papers at national conferences. At three of these conferences he was an invited speaker. In 2008 he was granted researcher status by the National Research Fund.

Prof. Francis is currently on the editorial boards of two journals and an advisor on two international education conference committees. He also serves as the Chairperson of the Kenton Education Association.

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  
5 November 2009
 

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