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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

Fifth-generation member of the Steyn family registers for Law at the UFS
2010-01-21

At the registration of a fifth-generation member of the of Steyns at the Faculty of Law are, from the left: Prof. Johan Henning, Dean of the Faculty of Law, Colin Steyn Junior, first-year LLB student and Adv. Colin Steyn, Director of Public Prosecution in the Free State.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs


Colin Steyn Junior registered as a student in the five-year LLB programme in the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State (UFS) this year. This former learner from Grey College is a member of the fifth generation of the Steyn family who will study Law at the UFS. Besides the fact that a member from each generation of the Steyn family has studied at the UFS, Colin Steyn, who later became Minister of Justice, also lectured here in the early 1900s.

Advocate Colin Steyn, Director of Public Prosecution in the Free State, who himself studied under Prof. Johan Henning, Dean of the Faculty of Law, brought his son to register at the UFS. Colin Junior, who is staying in the Agricultural Residence on the Paradys Experimental Farm, said he enjoyed Rag and that he was looking forward to student life at Kovsies. “I want to become an attorney and I want to farm part-time,” he said.

According to Prof. Henning there is no other family of which five generations studied at one faculty at this university.

“You walk into an environment where your father, brothers and other family members have studied. It feels like your own home and immediately you also feel at home. The Faculty of Law here in the heart of the Free State is an institution of excellence,” said Adv. Steyn.
 

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