Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2017 2018 2019 2020
Previous Archive
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

Gauteng business community experiences UFS
2010-09-23

Prof. Matie Hoffman from the Department of Physics of the UFS, presenting at the Boyden Observatory to a group of business executives from Gauteng, during their recent visit to the university.
Photo: Gerhard Louw

The University of the Free State’s (UFS) Corporate Liaison Office recently hosted a group of eleven business men and women from the private sector in Gauteng on its Main Campus in Bloemfontein. The purpose of the campus visits, which are held two to three times a year, is to give representatives from the corporate sector the opportunity to get to know the UFS first-hand and to help build the brand of the university as a national asset.

During their visit the group of business men and women, amongst others, met with faculty members, they enjoyed a networking session with UFS staff at the Oliewenhuis Art Museum, visited the Unit for Students with Disabilities as well as the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health.

The day ended at the Boyden Observatory where a feedback session was facilitated by Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, and Prof. Ezekiel Moraka, Vice-Rector: External Relations. After this opportunity where the visitors discussed their experience of the UFS, the day came to an end with a presentation on: The African skies: Stories and science by a Ph.D. candidate from the Department of Physics, Mr Bosco Oruru. One of the highlights of the evening included a sighting of the Hubble Telescope in the sky over Bloemfontein and observing the moon and Venus through one of the Boyden telescopes.

The visitors left with new insights and a great appreciation for the contribution of the UFS to education, research and community service in South Africa.

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept