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

Free State University Choir wins competition in Prague
2009-12-15

This past weekend, the Free State University Choir, under the directorship of Mr Corné van Pletzen, won the Christmas Music Festival Competition in Prague in the Czech Republic. 25 choirs from amongst others Spain, Hungary, Slovakia and Russia also participated in the competition.

It is the first time in the 10 years that the Christmas Music Festival Competition is presented that an overall winner of the festival and the competition was announced.

The choir originally only participated in the festival part of the Christmas Music Festival. Later, at the end of the competition, they were asked by the judges to prepare a song for the prize-giving ceremony, not knowing that the judges were judging them for the competition.

Mr Van Pletzen said, “Finally, after all prizes had been handed out, a trumpet fanfare announced the Free State University Choir as the overall winner of the competition. Our choir was also requested to close the competition with a song; that we did, whereupon our students sang the National Anthem with pride and with tears in their eyes.

The choir’s presentation was unique as they included a great variety of songs in their programme, amongst others some of Mr Van Pletzen’s own compositions and a song from Africa, Wana Baraka.

According to Mr Van Pletzen, six of the choirs obtained more than 90% during the competition. The Free State University Choir was however overwhelmed with positive feedback on the standard of their presentation from the audience, other participating choirs as well as the judges.

Most of the 38 choir members have already been members of this choir for three years now and this is the third time that most of them are singing overseas.

They will bring home a beautiful glass trophy.


Mr Corné van Pletzen.

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