Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2017 2018 2019 2020
Previous Archive
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

Research at the UFS on the acceptability and modern use of earth building in newly settled urban areas can help the poorest of the poor to acquire hou
2003-08-26

The University of the Free State and the Technische Universiteit van Eindhoven in the Netherlands received a research bursary of R316 000 from SANPAD (South African Netherlands Research Programme on Alternatives in Development).

The aim of the research is to determine the public acceptability of sustainable, high quality, earth constructed public and private buildings as an alternative to the conventional way of building with bricks and steel.

“European countries like the Netherlands are far advanced with studies in earth construction and this is why the partnership was formed with the Technische Universiteit van Eindhoven,” says Prof Das Steÿn, Head of Urban and Regional Planning at the UFS and project leader.

Although research regarding mapping, typology and availability of natural and local resources has been done on a national level, little research has been done on the acceptability and the modern use of earth building in newly settled urban areas.

“South Africa has a large housing shortage and traditional methods such as earth building techniques are not used in urban informal housing. Preference is given to corrugated iron sheets and plastic,” says Prof Steÿn.

The use of upgraded earth construction might be more sustainable as far as the environment and the economy is concerned. “If we can make a breakthrough in the development and propagating of these methods it will help the poorest of the poor to acquire housing of a better quality.”

The research team from the UFS consists of Prof Steÿn, Ms Petria Jooste-Smit, Head of the Unit for Earth Construction in the Department of Architecture and Mr Gerhard Bosman of the Department of Architecture.
 

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept