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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

New residences for Qwaqwa Campus
2010-02-17

Rev Hosiah Nkoana
Photo: Mangaliso Radebe.


The Qwaqwa Campus of the University of the Free State will have new residences before the end of this year to ease the growing demand for student accommodation.

According to the Deputy Director of Housing and Residence Affairs at the Qwaqwa campus, Rev Hosiah Nkoana (pictured), the university is spending a lot of money on the rent and maintenance of the residences of the former colleges of education, Tshiya and Bonamelo, that the university has been using since 2004 to accommodate students.

The construction of these new residences will be carried out in two phases.

“The first phase will be university-funded and the residences will accommodate 200 students, male and female. The second phase will be a private development by a private developer. The residences in this phase of construction will accommodate 500 students – and this will be its first phase. It will then be followed by a second phase, depending on the demand for accommodation,” said Rev Nkoana.

“These residences will not necessarily be state-of-the-art residences but they will have good facilities that will underwrite our approach that residences are not just sleeping places.”

“We are developing a philosophy of turning our residences into learning and living areas. So, to get there we are going to put up a computer lab with 100-150 computers between the residences so that all resident students can access them to enhance the learning side of residence life. I hope this will change the way our students see residences,” he said.

Currently the residences at the Qwaqwa Campus can accommodate 770 students. The new residences are expected to be ready for occupation in the 2011 academic year.

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

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