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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 wins national serenade competition
2010-09-07

The men from Veritas show why they won the National “Sêr” competition.
Photo: Provided

After many months’ practice, sweat and late nights, the “sêr” group of Veritas, a men’s residence at the University of the Free State (UFS) managed to make name nationally and bring home a coveted crown.

At the recent National “Sêr” Competition hosted by Stellenbosch University (US), this group of talented young men made a clean sweep when they snatched up the prizes in the Men’s Residence section, the best performance of a song for their gospel medley, as well as the prize for the overall winners.

The competition, which took place at three venues, was attended by approximately 3 000 people. The competition was presented in the Endler Hall of the Music Conservatory of the US and the halls of the Secondary School Bloemhof and Paul Roos Gymnasium. According to Corneil Müller, one of the adjudicators at the Endler Hall, the majority of the adjudicators agreed that Veritas deserved the first prize. The other adjudicators at this hall were Karen Meiring, Bondina Osterhoff, Saranti Rheeders, Leonore Bredekamp and Sidumo Jacobs.

According to the head student of Veritas and second tenor in the “sêr” group, the group did not really expect to win all the prizes. However, when the audience gave them a standing ovation, the group started to think that the first prize really was within their reach.

Their gospel medley is close to the hearts of the entire group. It is the men’s way to say thank you for their talents. “It is a very special song for us – it means a lot to each one in our group,” says Herman. To win the prize with for this medley for the best performance of a song was the cherry on the top for these men. “We did not even know that such a prize existed!” says Herman.

The ladies of Sonnedou Residence’s “sêr” group also participated in the competition. This section of the competition was won by Vergeet-My-Nie from the North-West University (NWU).

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication (actg.)
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl@ufs.ac.za  
7 September 2010

 

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