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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

Inaugural lecture by Prof Kwandiwe Kondlo
2011-08-26

 

Present at the inaugural lecture of Prof Kwandiwe Kondlo were from the left: Prof. Lucius Botes, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities; Prof. Kwandiwe Kondlo and Prof. Teuns Verschoor, Vice-Rector: Institutional Affairs
Photo: Stephen Collett

Can the South African Communist Party (SACP) ever become a viable option for the ANC or has it become just a flat spare-tyre of the ruling party? Is there more to expect from the SACP or has it run full cycle? These are some of the questions that were brought up by Prof. Kwandiwe Kondlo at his inaugural lecture at our university on 24 August 2011.

Prof. Kondlo, head of our Centre for Africa Studies, told the audience that the current SACP (unlike pre-1994) is a party in which theory and intellectual reflection were being eclipsed by politics of pragmatism and warned that self-interest and ambition have become a problem. Delivering his lecture on the topic The South African Communist Party and the Dilemma of the National Democratic Revolution in South Africa, 1994 to date, Prof. Kondlo warned that he may ruffle feathers amongst those with ideological commitments and said that as an intellectual it was his job to irritate.
 
Prof. Kondlo told the audience his lecture would re-open old debates telling them that old questions are making way to the fore, for example the nationalisation debate.
 
Please find Prof. Kwandiwe Kondlo’s full inaugural lecture in the attached document. 

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