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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

Kovsies perform well at South African Netball Championships
2010-04-30

 
Kovsies in the Free State u.19 and u.21 teams who performed excellently at the recent South African Netball Championships. Here are, from the left: Fikile Mkhuzangwe, best defender, Monique Lemon, best centre court, Anja Opperman, best goal shooter and Karla Mostert, overall best player at the South African Netball Championships.
Photo: Gerhard Louw
 Karla Mostert, a student at the University of the Free State (UFS), was named as the best player of the tournament at the recent South African Netball Championships that was held in Richards Bay.

At the tournament top players in each position were also identified. The best goal shooter was a Kovsie Anja Opperman. Other Kovsies included the following: Monique Lemon was named as the best centre-court player and Fikile Mkhuzangwe as the best goal keeper.

The Free State’s u.19 and u.21 netball teams that participated in the tournament entirely comprised of Kovsies. Ms Burta de Kock, Assistant Director at the UFS’s KovieSport, is very proud of the Kovsies netball players’ achievements.

Not only did they reach four of the top positions, but they also won each of the ten matches in the round robin, which took them through to the finals. Both teams brought gold home in the finals when Free State u.19 beat Gauteng East 35-25 and Free State u.21 beat North-West South 37-23.

The Kovsies students performed even better when Fikile Mkhuzangwe, Carmen Swanepoel, Ane Botha, Lauren-Lee Christians, Monique Lemon and Nieke Loubser were named amongst the top 20 players in the u.19 age group. In the U/21 age group, four of the 20 top players were Kovsies, namely Anja Opperman, Anja Zandberg, Karla Mostert and Mari-lise Linde.

“Three of our players also qualified as national umpires: Lizahn Zimmerman (Netball SA, C grading), Mari-Lise Linde (Netball SA, C-plus grading) and Johanet Coetzer (Netball SA, C+ grading),” says Ms De Kock.

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