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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

UFS closes pedestrian entrances to improve safety on campus
2010-08-05

The University of the Free State (UFS) will remove pedestrian gates on its Main Campus in an extra effort to improve safety on this campus.

It was decided to implement this plan because the campus covers a huge area and people who are not part of the campus community hang around on the campus, sometimes causing damages. This idea is also strongly supported by students, in particular with regard to the removal of the pedestrian thoroughfares close to the hostels.

The following pedestrian gates will not be removed:

- The pedestrian thoroughfares on both sides of the DF Malherbe Gate (next to the Faculty of Health Sciences). Both the main gate and the pedestrian thoroughfares at the DF Malherbe Gate remain open 24 hours a day.
- The pedestrian thoroughfares at the Badenhorst Street Gate (close to Roosmaryn Residence). The Badenhorst Gate is not open 24 hours a day, but the pedestrian thoroughfare will remain open 24 hours a day.

The following pedestrian thoroughfares will be removed with effect from 1 September 2010:

- The pedestrian thoroughfare to the east of Pellies Park
- The pedestrian thoroughfare to the west of Pellies Park (directly behind JMB Hertzog Residence)
- The turnstile between the Kovsie Church and the Wynand Mouton Gate
- The pedestrian thoroughfare behind the tennis courts
- The pedestrian thoroughfares behind the rugby fields

A request was also directed at the Kovsie Church to close down the pedestrian thoroughfare between the Kovsie Church and the UFS. This gate will then be opened during church activities.

From 1 September 2010, the personnel of Security Services will regularly patrol the fences. Trespassers that flatten the fencing to enter the campus will be prosecuted.

Students, personnel and visitors are encouraged to make use of the main entrance gates of the UFS. These include the Main Gate (in Nelson Mandela Drive), the Wynand Mouton Gate (in DF Malherbe Drive), the DF Malherbe Gate (in Wynand Mouton Drive), the Badenhorst Street Gate (close to Roosmaryn Residence) and the Furstenburg Gate (in Furstenburg Road).

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

 

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