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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

Different religions introduced at UFS forum
2010-08-18

 
Mr Ronnie Rosen, leader of the Jewish community in Bloemfontein.

The Inter-Religious Forum (IRF) of the Faculty of Theology at the University of the Free State (UFS) has started a discussion series which offer the opportunity to different religions to introduce themselves. According to Rev. Maniraj Sukdaven from the Department of Religion Studies at the UFS, the purpose of the discourse series is to get to know more about one another’s religion within an atmosphere of respect.

During the last IRF meeting, Mr Ronnie Rosen, leader of the Jewish community in Bloemfontein, gave a talk about the Jewish religion. According to him there is a wide range of Jewish people.

“The one thing, however, that all Jewish people have in common is the Torah or Law-Book. There are 613 instructions that help a Jewish person to organise his life according to the Jewish way of life. For example, a Jewish person who wants to obey the Torah would not consume dairy products and protein together. This life style is not only regarded as a religion, but a way of life, which constantly makes a person aware of his relationship with God,” he explained.

Another interesting fact that transpired during the discussion was that, for the first time in the history of the world, there are more Jews in Israel than in other concentrated areas across the world. Five (5) million Jews are currently living in Israel, while the remaining 10 million Jews are spread across the world.

During the meeting of the IRF forum, persons from amongst others the Baha’i, Hindu and Christian religions participated in the discussion. Other religions that have already been discussed are Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Rastafarians.

The IRF will also be involved in the structuring of course material about the different religions and an inter-religious conference will be part of the IRF’s programme in 2011.

The IRF is the only institution of its kind at South African universities.



 

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