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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 Student Affairs
2009-12-08

The University of the Free State (UFS) has appointed Mr Rudi Buys as its new dean of Student Affairs.

Mr Buys is the Chief Executive Officer of iGubu Leadership Agency and has in this capacity been involved with student affairs by holding key clients in the higher education sector, including amongst others, the Universities of the Free State, Stellenbosch and Pretoria.

“Mr Buys has provided consultancy services to the Student Affairs Department of the UFS and he knows the strengths and weaknesses of the system, the climate and challenges. He also enjoys the trust of our students, is accepted by students across all races and has a sound knowledge of current student issues. He has a passion for youth/student leadership development and I am very pleased that he is joining this university,” says Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

"I consider the appointment an immense privilege – joining a higher education institution such as the UFS with a proud heritage and an even more significant future. I relish the opportunity to join the team at the UFS in realising the vision of an internationally renowned and socially responsive institution. I wish to thank the University for this vote of confidence and offer my utmost commitment in honouring the appointment. As the UFS has inspired me, I'm convinced that the institution will inspire our nation,” says Mr Buys.

Mr Buys has also worked as a Commissioner at the Western Cape Youth Commission, was spokesperson for the Western Cape Education Ministry and is a founding member of a number of civil society initiatives. His academic qualifications include an M.Theologia, B.Divinitatis (Hons Eq) and B. Theologia.

He will take up office on 4 January 2010.

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  
4 December 2009
 
 Mr Rudi Buys

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