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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's international advisory board holds first meeting
2009-11-28

Members of the International Advisory Board of the UFS in discussion with Prof. Dennis Francis (right), who is appointed as Dean of the Faculty of Education from the beginning of 2010. With him are Prof. Alice Pell from Cornell University in the USA and Dr Uri Ofir from Evalnet in Switzerland.
Photo:  Leatitia Pienaar


The International Advisory Board of the University of the Free State (UFS) had its first meeting on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein this week. It coincided with the launch of the six research clusters of the UFS.

Prof. Aldo Stroebel, Director: Internationalisation at the UFS, says internationalisation is a strategic priority to reach the University’s strategic goals. Internationalisation will bring a global awareness at all levels and will serve as a co-shaping factor and an instrument to produce well-rounded, internationally competent staff and students. It will also be an instrument to promote diversity, advance the UFS’s international standing and initiate and promote international collaborative research.

The advisory board will advise and guide the UFS leadership in the internationalisation process. He said the board would provide strategic guidance to the internationalisation efforts of the UFS and bring cutting-edge expertise to bear on the internationalisation policies, strategies and action plans of the institution.

Its members will help ensure that the University leadership is aware of relevant international trends and opportunities, and the board will use their experience to advise on appropriate actions. They will also act as advocates for the University in their own spheres of influence.

The board consists of Dr Jane Knight of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada; Prof. Alice Pell of the Cornell University, USA; Prof. Masafumi Nagao of the International Christian University, Japan; Dr Khotso Mokhele of Impala Platinum Holdings, South Africa; Prof. Joseph Stetar of the Seton Hall University, USA; and Dr Uri Ofir of Evalnet, Switzerland. Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, is the Chairperson of the board.

Prof. Stroebel says the UFS is honoured to have people of international standing and who are highly regarded in various fields on the board to guide the institution in its internationalisation endeavours.

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  
27 November 2009
 

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