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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

Junior quartet invited to master classes in the Netherlands
2011-06-14

 

The Junior Odeion String Quartet (JOSQ) from our Odeion School of Music has been honoured by being invited to participate in the Internationale Stichting Masterclass Apeldoorn in the Netherlands.

This series of master classes will be attended by 40 young musicians from across the world. The four members of the JOSQ therefore constitute 10% of the chosen participants. This achievement is even more remarkable if one considers that the JOSQ has only been in existence for a year. For a string quartet to achieve such a high international standard in such a short span of time is a clear indication of hard work, persistence, above average musicality and excellent instruction. For the latter, their instructor, Sharon de Kock, deserves all the credit, according to Mr Marius Coetzee, Manager of Innovation and Development at the Odeion School of Music.

Under the guidance of international masters like Raphael Wallfish (cello), Pascal Devoyon (piano), Philippe Graffin (violin), Ásdís Valdimarsdóttir (viola) and Charles Neidich (clarinet), the JOSQ will prepare to perform in a concert which will form part of the final phase of the master classes and which is sure to be the highlight of the course. This concert will take place in Apeldoorn’s Orpheus theatre.

 

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