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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

Huge interest in Ms Oprah Winfrey's visit to our university
2011-06-10

 

Staff and students from our Bloemfontein Campus queued since early this morning to obtain their tickets.
Photo: Phelekwa Mpono

The atmosphere on our campuses is electric with the upcoming visit and Graduation Ceremony of Ms Oprah Winfrey in Bloemfontein.

Ms Winfrey will receive an Honorary Doctorate in Education from our university on Friday, 24 June 2011.

Every single ticket for the event was snapped up within hours of becoming available this morning (Wednesday, 15 June 2011). Staff and students queued in front of the Information Centre on our university’s Bloemfontein Campus to get their free tickets, while the general public did the same at Computicket outlets throughout the country.

The university would like to thank everyone for their positive attitude and eagerness to be part of this special day. A special thank you to all our staff and students who have volunteered their services and are helping to plan and manage the event.

The university requests everyone who has managed to secure a ticket to ensure that they arrive early on the Bloemfontein Campus that day.

On Friday, 24 June 2011, the doors of the Callie Human Centre will open for both special guests and the public in general at 13:00. The doors will close strictly at 14:00 and no one will be allowed to enter or leave the building for reasons of safety and security.

Entertainment before and after the Graduation Ceremony will be provided by acclaimed musicians such as the internationally lauded, award-winning singer Sibongile Khumalo, the Botshabelo String Orchestra, the Bloemfontein Children’s Choir and the choir of the Bartimea School for the Deaf and Blind.

After the Graduation Ceremony, Ms Winfrey will formally address the 4 500 guests, after which she will conduct a Question-and-Answer Session with students from the large audience. 


Media Release
15 June 2011
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za

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