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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

Dr Malete elected Chairperson of PanSALB
2010-09-06

Dr. Elias Malete

The Principal of UFS’s Qwaqwa Campus, Dr Elias Malete, was recently elected Chairperson of the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) at the 62nd General Board Meeting held in Pretoria. He is taking over from Prof. Sihawukele Ngubane from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

PanSALB is a constitutional body tasked with promoting and creating conditions for the development and use of eleven official languages in South Africa, including the likes of German, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, amongst others.

“Our mandate going forward is to complement the good work that was done by Prof. Ngubane. We are charged with the responsibility of maintaining quality, respect, honesty and accountability in order to realise our new vision of promoting and ensuring respect for all languages commonly used by South African communities, including the Khoi, Nama and San languages, as well as South African Sign Language,” said Dr Malete.

“Our main focus in the next twelve months of office will be the development of programmes which will support PanSALB’s three-year strategic plan. These programmes will focus on administrative matters to ensure prudent financial and effective corporate governance of PanSALB, as well as aligning our structures like national language bodies, national lexicographic units and provincial language committees with the new strategic plan. This alignment is crucial if we are to create conditions for the development of all languages, thus promoting multilingualism and ensuring respect for all South African languages,” said Dr Malete.

Meanwhile, Dr Malete was invited by the Athens Institute for Education and Research to present a paper at the 3rd Annual International Conference in Literature, Language and Linguistics in Athens, Greece. His paper, Negation of adjuncts in Sesotho, was well received by the international audience.
 

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