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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

Autumn graduation ceremony one of the biggest yet
2012-03-23

12 March 2012

The autumn graduation ceremony is set to be one of the biggest yet. This will be the most diplomas/certificates up to and including honours degrees that will be awarded at one ceremony.

A total of 629 diplomas/certificates and 2856 degrees will be awarded at the ceremony. The diplomas/certificates and degrees will be awarded in eight different ceremonies in the Callie Human Centre on the Bloemfontein Campus from 27 to 30 March 2012.
 
Unlike other years, master’s degrees, doctorates and honorary doctorates will not be awarded during this year’s autumn graduation ceremony. These degrees in all the faculties will be awarded during one ceremony on 14 June 2012.
 
The programme for the respective ceremonies is as follows:
  • On Tuesday 27 March 2012, the Faculty of the Humanities will award 646 qualifications. The Faculty of Education will award 471 qualifications.
  • On Wednesday 28 March 2012, the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences will award 812 qualifications.
  • On Thursday 29 March 2012, the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences will award 781 qualifications.
  • On Friday 30 March 2012, the Faculty of Health Sciences will award 322 qualifications, the Faculty of Law 148 qualifications, and the Faculty of Theology 25 qualifications. On the same day, the School of Open Learning will award 261 qualifications.
The graduation ceremony of the Qwaqwa Campus will take place on 12 May 2012. Diplomas/certificates up to and including doctorates will be awarded during the ceremony.

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