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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 welcomes the class of 2010
2010-01-13

Pictured with Prof Jansen are, from the left: Christo Smal (B.Sc. Quantity Surveying student from Bloemfontein), Nicole Tarentaal (LL.B. student from Bloemfontein), Charmoné Swartz (LL.B. student from Kimberley) and Lizé de Witt (B.Sc. Quantity Surveying student from Bloemfontein).
Photo: Stephen Collett


The University of the Free State (UFS) welcomed its first-time entering first-year students on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein this past weekend.

Addressing the new students and their parents at the ceremony, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof. Jonathan Jansen assured the new students and their parents that “they are at the right place”.

“We will not cut corners with your child’s education as we are serious about the quality of the education we provide,” he said to the parents. “We shall make sure that our students are distinguished among graduates from other universities – that they are leaders. Quality is not negotiable.”

Prof. Jansen also said the standards of admission at the UFS would be raised. “We need students of a higher academic standard,” he said.

“Our students will obtain a degree they will be proud of. We are going to put everything into their education and experience here at the UFS so that they can be the best in their field of study.”

He told the new students and their parents that they were safe at the UFS as no first-year student would be initiated anymore. He said that there were other ways to create self-respect and confidence in a young person without having to use initiation.

“It is not enough to have a degree,” he said. “We want to link your degree to thorough preparation for the workplace. Your degree must be accepted globally.”

Prof. Jansen further emphasised the importance of students to understand one another and to get along with one another – especially with those who speak a language different from their own and with a different skin colour than theirs.

“Our students must have respect for one another. This is a value that should be added to your qualification in order for you to be relevant in the workplace anywhere in the world.”

He said the university was busy with a programme to install computer points in all the residences. He also extolled the virtues of the UFS, citing excellence in sport, music, debating and other activities.

Prof. Jansen also reiterated the fact that the first group of 100 first-year students who would be sent overseas to study during the second semester would come from this class of 2010.

“The class of 2010 will change Kovsies. They will be the best students that have ever graduated,” he said.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
12 January 2010
 

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