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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 hosts first International Congress on Calvin Research in Africa
2010-08-31

Present at the Calvin Research Conference were, from the left: Dr Frank Ewerszumrode (OP), Faculty of Catholic Theology at the University of Mainz in Mainz, Germany; Prof. Dr Herman Selderhuis, President of the International Congress on Calvin Research; Prof. Dolf Britz, Director of the Jonathan Edwards Centre Africa at the UFS; and Ntabanyane Tseuoa, Masters student in the Jonathan Edwards Centre at the UFS.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

The first International Congress on Calvin Research in Africa was this week presented on the Main Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein. This was the tenth Calvin Research Conference presented. The conference is presented every four years.

The theme of the congress was: Reconciliation in the Theology of Calvin. Presentations were made about, amongst others, Calvin’s viewpoint regarding slavery and social justice. There was also a discussion about the extraordinary interest to record the original Calvin texts in databases and to make it available to researchers worldwide.

According to Prof. Dolf Britz, Director of the Jonathan Edwards Centre at the UFS, the objective of the congress was to study original Calvin sources critically. “An important part of the congress’ work is to publish an important part of Calvin’s work in a comprehensive text critical edition. This process is already well advanced and includes a number of unknown texts,” said Prof. Britz.

With its research on Calvin, the UFS emphasises the study of original theological sources. “This approach makes the Faculty of Theology part of the UFS’s strategy towards internationalisation. This is also one of the reasons why the UFS was selected by Yale University in America as partner in the recent establishment of the Jonathan Edwards Centre Africa,” said Prof. Britz, whose brainchild it was to also include young upcoming researchers with the study of original sources and classical languages such as Latin.

The congress was attended by researchers and academics from across the world. Twenty young, emerging researchers formed part of this group that was invited by the UFS. According to Prof. Britz, these young researchers are the top achievers at their respective universities, such as the North-West University, Stellenbosch University, Mukanyo Theological College in the Pretoria area and the UFS.

At this event, attended by more than 70 world-renowned Calvin scholars from countries like, amongst others, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Finland, Switzerland, France, The Netherlands, America, Germany and Hungary; UFS academics like Prof. Eric de Boer, Extraordinary Professor in Classical and Reformed Theology and students like Rev. Ntabanyane Tseuoa from Lesotho, read and presented papers as well.

According to Prof. Britz this congress was a very good opportunity to introduce the UFS to the rest of the world.

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

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