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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

Spring graduation and diploma ceremonies
2010-09-17

The University of the Free State (UFS) has conferred 566 grade, 41 doctoral degrees and 274 diplomas at the spring graduation and diploma ceremonies. 

The two honorary doctoral degrees were conferred on Prof. Kalie Strydom and Dr Monty Jones. The event took place in die Callie Human Centre on the Main Campus. 

The UFS Management and personnel congratulates all our graduates on this achievement!

New UFS Chancellor confers his first degrees

The new Chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS), Dr Khotso Mokhele, conferred the first degrees since he has taken up the position as Chancellor. The UFS awarded 266 degrees and 20 doctorates to students from the Faculties of the Humanities, Health Sciences, Education, Law and Theology during its Spring graduation ceremony on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein today. Pictured at the ceremony, from the left, are: Dr Mokhele and Prof. Jonathan Jansen (Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS).
Photo: Mangaliso Radebe

 
UFS awards doctoral degree to 93-year-old graduate

This week Dr Anna de Jager received her doctoral degree in Religious Studies: Biblical and Religious Studies, during the Spring graduation ceremony of the University of the Free State (UFS) that took place in the Callie Human Centre on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein. Dr De Jager was the star of the day because she was the oldest person (93) who received her qualification during this graduation ceremony. The theme of her thesis is: Die belewing van geloofsekerheid by die Gereformeerde Afrikaanssprekende adolessente leerder.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

 
UFS honours an acclaimed educational researcher

The University of the Free State (UFS) conferred an Honorary Doctorate to Prof. Andries Hermanus (Kalie) Strydom during the Spring graduation ceremony held at the Callie Human Centre on the Main Campus today. Prof. Strydom is an alumnus and former academic of the UFS. His academic career can best be described as a lifetime of dedication to accountable research aimed at the advancement of higher education in South Africa. He is an acclaimed researcher in the field of higher education – nationally and internationally. His work over the last 30 years has not only been about supporting transformation in the education sector and specifically higher education, but also about capacity building of staff and supporting equity expectations without compromising quality.
Photo: Mangaliso Radebe

 
UFS confers another honorary doctorate

The University of the Free State (UFS) conferred another Honorary Doctorate today, this time on Dr Monty Jones (pictured), a Sierra Leonean who spent the last 32 years of his career in Africa working in international agricultural research for development institutions. Dr Jones is the Executive Director of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and co-winner of the prestigious 2004 World Food Prize. The UFS also awarded 300 degrees and 21 doctorates to students from the Faculties of Economic and Management Sciences and Natural and Agricultural Sciences; and 274 diplomas were conferred on students from all the faculties during the Spring graduation and diploma ceremonies on the Main Campus.
Photo: Mangaliso Radebe

 
UFS reaches another milestone in Sign Language

The University of the Free State (UFS) has become the first university in South Africa to award a Ph.D. in South African Sign Language. This honour was bestowed upon Dr Philemon Akach (pictured), Head of the Department of South African Sign Language at the UFS, during the Spring graduation and diploma ceremonies on the Main Campus. The UFS is also the first university in the country to have a fully-fledged and dedicated Department of South African Sign Language and it was the first university on the continent to offer Sign Language as an academic course in 1999.
Photo: Mangaliso Radebe

 
Proud day for UFS parent as daughter obtains first degree

On Thursday, 16 September 2010, Ms Rebecca Mohatlane from the University of the Free State (UFS) Student Academic Services had a day every mother dreams about when her daughter obtained her first degree. Puleng Mohatlane obtained a Baccalaureus Administrationis degree from the UFS’s Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences during this year’s September graduation ceremony. Puleng is currently continuing her studies at the UFS, working towards obtaining an honours degree.
Photo: Christiaan van der Merwe

 
Second generation student at Chemistry obtains doctorate degree

The Department of Chemistry at the University of the Free State (UFS) bore witness to a special event on Thursday, 16 September 2010 when another Conradie of the department received her doctoral degree. Marianne Conradie, daughter of Prof. Jeanet Conradie of the department, obtained her doctoral degree during the UFS’s 2010 Spring graduation ceremony. Adding to the already tight family connections, Prof. Conradie also acted as the promoter for Marianne’s thesis titled Rhodium and Iron complexes and transition states: A computational spectroscopic and electrochemical study.
Photo: Susan Conradie

 
Eastern Cape MEC obtains diploma at UFS

A member of the Eastern Cape’s Executive Committee (MEC), Mr Sicelo Gqobana, was one of the 800 graduates obtaining degrees or diplomas during the September 2010 graduation ceremonies at the University of the Free State (UFS). Currently serving as the Eastern Cape MEC for Local Government and Traditional affairs in the province, where he has been involved in politics since the 1990s. Mr Gqobana is also a former Chief Whip in the Provincial Legislature. Mr Gqobana, originally a teacher, obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Governance and Political Transformation from the UFS on Thursday, 16 September 2010.
Photo: Christiaan van der Merwe.

 

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