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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

Kovsie Open Day a resounding success
2010-05-05

 
 Photo: Gerhard Louw


The Kovsie Open Day 2010 that took place on the Main Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein last week, was attended by more than 6 000 prospective students and their parents. This event was a resounding success. Thus report our prospective students, their parents, campus personnel, as well Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor at the UFS.

Parents and learners from across South Africa were firstly welcomed by Prof. Jansen, the Deans and Moses Masitha, the President of the Student Representative Council (SRC) in the Callie Human Centre. Thereafter they were afforded the opportunity to visit the various exhibitions in the faculties and residences. Parents and learners could also complete application forms for entrance to the UFS in the tent of the Division Corporate Relations on the Red Square. Liesl Cronje from Magaliesburg, who wants to come and study B.Sc.Agric. at Kovsies, was named as the winner of R3 000 by Corporate Relations after her application form had been selected in a lucky draw.

Residences and student organisations also had information points on the grass in front of the Main Building, where more information was given out to prospective students. Armentum, Vishuis and Karee won the first, second and third place respectively with their information points. The ladies’ residences Vergeet-my-nie, Emily Hobhouse and Soetdoring respectively boasted with the best information points.

The first official Kovsie slogan competition was also held and Madelief was appointed as the winner.

This day was held to provide prospective students and their parents with the opportunity to become better acquainted with the distinctive quality that the UFS offers its students. Staff and students also provided learners with the necessary information to enable them to make the right decisions regarding their career and studies next year.
 

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