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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

Intervarsity postponed to 2013
2012-03-08

The annual Intervarsity between the Universities of the Free State and North-West (NWU), which traditionally takes place in the third term, has been postponed to 2013.

The Intervarsity between the UFS and NWU is an illustrious event that has already reached the special milestone of celebrating a 70-year Intervarsity tradition. The UFS/NWU Intervarsity is also known as one of the most reckoned events on the local and national sports and student calendars, and it is widely supported.
 
Representatives from both universities could for a variety of reasons not decide on a date which suited both universities.
 
The respective Intervarsity committees and senior managers of both universities have also taken the interests of the respective university communities and alumni of the institutions into account and have decided to postpone the 70th-year celebration of Intervarsity by a year in order to be able to celebrate the milestone properly.
 
The UFS would have received the NWU in Bloemfontein this year and will therefore host the 70-year celebrations of the event next year as well.
 
Mr Rudi Buys, Dean: Student Affairs at the UFS has expressed his gratitude for the fact that both universities are committed to a special celebration of the Intervarsity tradition in 2013.
 
“The celebration of the 70th Intervarsity between the two institutions will be an important milestone to commemorate decades of friendship, collaboration and healthy competition. Therefore we welcome this opportunity to plan a bigger and better programme for 2013,” he said.
 
The UFS-NWU 70-YEAR Intervarsity firstly aims to establish the programme as a proud example for both universities, where students and staff can pit their strengths against one another in a healthy manner.
 
The aim is to extend Intervarsity to various sections of the respective university communities to enable more students to participate. For instance, more sports codes will be added to the traditional competition on the rugby, soccer, netball and hockey fields, whilst various events focusing on arts and culture, i.e. choral singing and debating competitions, as well as dialogue between student leaders, will take place as part of the programme. All campuses of the two universities will participate in the programmes.
 
Students are even investigating the possibility of electronic competitions such as on-line games as part of the Intervarsity
 
During the Intervarsity last year, several new possibilities were already tested to ensure that the 70th anniversary would be a huge success.
 
The Central Intervarsity Committee of the UFS has decided to replace the Intervarsity 2012 programme with an INTRA-varsity programme between its respective campuses. For this occasion, various sports, arts and culture, and leadership events between the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses are planned, and the Central University of Technology might be invited as well to participate as guests in some programmes.

Media Release
8 March 2012
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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