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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

Kovsies in second and third place at USSA Cross-Country Championships
2010-09-30

 In the Kovsie women’s cross-country team were, from the left: Thandi Malindi, Maryna Swanepoel and Lettie Dhlamini.
 
In the Kovsie men cross-country team, who participated in the recent USSA Cross-Country Championships in Port Elizabeth, are from the left: Ratlale Mokone, Khothatso Mokone, Boy Soke and Johan Cronjé.

The University of the Free State (UFS) entered both a men’s and a women’s team in the recent USSA Cross-Country Championships that took place at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth.

 

According to Ms Sarina Cronjé from KovieSport at the UFS, both teams did extremely well. Kovsies men came second in the men’s 4 km race as well as the 4x5 km road relay and our women finished third in the 8 km race.

 

Congratulations to Boy Soke (2nd), Johan Cronjé (3rd), Ratlale Kokone (7th) and Khothatso Mokone (14th) who came second in the team competition of the 4 km race with 26 penalty points against the 22 penalty points of the Pukke, who won the team competition. Our men’s B-team with Windy Jonas (17), Antonie Peens (20), Gerrit Viljoen (31) and Laurens van der Merwe (33) ended in sixth place in the 4 km team competition.

 

Our women finished third in the 8 km team competition with 31 penalty points. Thandi Malindi (9th), Maryna Swanepoel (10th) and Lettie Dhlamini (12th) were the team members.

 

“To each and every athlete a word of appreciation for the manner in which you ran, as well as the guts you have shown on a difficult course in very windy conditions,” said Ms Cronjé.

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