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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

Kovsies beat Pukke at USSA tennis tournament
2010-01-13

 The Kovsies women’s team that participated in last year’s USSA tennis tournament were, from the left, front: Elrien de Villiers and Nicola Dormehl; middle: Rensia Henning and Christine Keyser; back: Jeanne du Plessis and Elizna Barnard.

 

The men who participated in the tournament were, from the left: Willem Steenkamp, PW Holtzhausen, Duke Munro, Janine de Kock (manager), Marnus Kleinhans (coach), Divan Olivier, HB Steyn and Reon Henning.
 

Last year Kovsie tennis concluded on a highlight when the men’s tennis team of the University of the Free State (UFS) won the USSA tournament that was held in Grahamstown for the first time in twenty years. The UFS women’s team also excelled by going through to the final round, where they had to bow the knee before the team of Stellenbosch University.

The result of these excellent achievements was that two of the five players that were selected for the USSA women’s training group were Kovsies. They are Rensia Henning and Christine Keyser. Elrien de Villiers was selected as the player of the tournament but unfortunately she could not be included in the group because she is a Namibian citizen.

The men’s group existed of eight players, of which four are Kovsies. They are Reon Henning, Duke Munro, Willem Steenkamp and PW Holtzhausen.

Members of the USSA training group will participate in training camps, tournaments and trials to prepare for the Confederation of University and College Sport Association (CUCSA) games (where all the Southern Africa countries participate) in Botswana that will take place from 5-11 July 2010. The training group will also participate in the World Student Games in 2011.

The Kovsies men’s team kick-started last year’s USSA tournament by beating the team from the University of Cape Town with 6-1 and later on the same day beating the team from the University of Johannesburg with 5-1. The next day they beat the team from the Tshwane University of Technology with 7-0 and the team of the University of Pretoria with 5-1. According to Ms Janine de Kock from KovsieSport at the UFS this is an excellent achievement, taking into account that Tukkies had ended in second place at the 2008 tournament.

In the semi-finals Kovsies played against the North-West University and beat them with 4-1. After this triumph in the singles matches the organisers decided that the doubles would not be played.

The women’s team won their matches against the Universities of Pretoria, Cape Town, Rhodes, KwaZulu-Natal and the Tshwane University of Technology. The tournament ended with Kovsies and Maties as the only two unbeaten teams and Stellenbosch University walked away with the laurels. The North-West University did not have a women’s team at the tournament at all.
 

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