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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

Prof. Jonathan Jansen honoured for transforming education
2010-04-16

Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa   
Prof. Jonathan Jansen
The Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS), Prof. Jonathan Jansen, will be awarded an honorary doctorate by the Cleveland State University in the United State of America.

“The Board of Trustees and the Faculty of Cleveland State University have voted to award you this degree in recognition of your outstanding contribution towards the transformation of education, politics and diversity for the citizens and students of South Africa and the world,” Ronald Berkman, President of the Cleveland State University, stated in the letter he wrote to Prof. Jansen.

The degree, an Honorary Doctor of Higher Education Administration, will be conferred on him in Cleveland on 15 May 2010.

Prof. Jansen has also received recognition of another form. His book, Knowledge in the Blood: Confronting Race and the Apartheid Past, was among the six books that were selected for outstanding recognition awards by the American Educational Research Association (AERA), in the category: “Decolonizing the curriculum conversation”.

The book was also listed among the best 31 books of 2009 by the Library Journal - the oldest and most respected publication covering the library field.

The outstanding recognition awards recognize books that make a vital contribution to Curriculum Studies.

The six books were among 30 that were submitted for the Outstanding Book Award won by Peter Taubman’s Teaching by Numbers.

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

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