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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

"Boer Manie se melk word suur" no sour story
2010-02-17

Pictured, from the left, front, are the actors: Keogh (Boer Manie), Kotzé (Bella de Vries) and Strydom (Neelsie). Back: Fourie (Tersia Tandeheks) – Lize du Plessis
Photo: Lize du Plessis

The Department of Drama and Theatre Arts at the University of the Free State (UFS) recently presented a jam-packed Drama Festival. The festival gave actors, directors and script-writers on campus the opportunity to show what they are capable of.

Heinrich Keogh and Ilne Fourie combined forces to present a production suitable for young and old. “Boer Manie se melk word suur” tells the story of Farmer Manie, his son Neelsie, his cow Bella and the evil Tersia Tandeheks, a witch who tries to turn the entire world’s milk sour by using magic. Her conniving plans create chaos on Madeliefie Vlei, where all the characters live.

The four actors, Heinrich Keogh (Boer Manier), Ilne Fourie (Tersia Tandeheks), Mart Kotzé (Bella de Vries) and Walter Strydom (Neelsie) clearly have a passion for acting. They climb into the bodies of their characters – something they have to learn when studying at the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts.

According to Keogh, who also directed “Boer Manie se melk word suur”, the play receives positive feedback.

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