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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

More than 800 students graduate at the UFS
2010-09-14

The University of the Free State (UFS) will confer 881 degrees and diplomas during its Spring graduation and diploma ceremonies that will be held in the Callie Human Centre on the Main Campus.

The various graduation ceremonies will take place on Wednesday, 15 and Thursday, 16 September 2010.

The UFS will award 566 degrees, 41 doctorates and 274 diplomas. Two honorary doctorates will also be conferred on Prof. Kalie Strydom and Dr Monty Jones.

For more than two decades Prof. Strydom has been associated with excellence in educational research, especially in the field of higher education. Dr Jones is the Executive Director of FARA (Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa). He is a Sierra Leonean and has spent the last 32 years of his career in Africa working in international agricultural research for development institutions.

The full programme is as follows:

  • Wednesday, 15 September 2010:

    -At 14:30 266 students from the Faculties of the Humanities, Health Sciences, Education, Law and Theology will receive their degrees and 20 doctorates will be conferred. On the same day Prof. Strydom will receive an honorary doctorate and Mrs Alida Maria Dippenaar a Chancellor’s Medal. She was during her career one of the pioneer senior female managers and a member of the Executive Management and the Senate at the UFS.
  • Thursday, 16 September 2010:

    - 08:30: 300 degrees and 21 doctorates will be awarded in the Faculties of Economic and Management Sciences and Natural and Agricultural Sciences. Dr Jones will also receive an honorary doctorate on the same day.

- 14:30: 274 diplomas will be conferred on students from all faculties.

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

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