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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

UFS appoints Director: KovsieRugby
2012-10-16

Michael Horak.
Photo: Johan Roux
16 October 2012

Mr Michael Horak has been appointed for a three year term by the UFS as Director: KovsieRugby. He began working at the university on 1 October 2012.

Mr Horak’s involvement in and experience of Super Rugby coaching, his working relationship with the Free State Rugby Union, his understanding of coaching structures and systems, as well as his knowledge of Kovsie players and present structures made him the obvious choice. He is also well positioned to see to it that the Shimlas are prepared for the next Varsity Cup tournament, which begins in February 2013.

His career includes the position of General Manager of the Cheetahs and Rugby Affairs at the Free State Rugby Union, a defence coach in Super Rugby, as well as senior Currie Cup teams and a rugby consultant for Grey College and Windhoek Gymnasium.

Some of his responsibilities as Director of KovsieRugby include the coaching of the Shimlas (head coach); the planning, development, management and implementation of a coordinated coaching and rugby programme throughout all sections of the UFS Rugby club; the development and implementation of innovative coaching techniques and methods in regards to players; as well as the development and implementation of a medium and long term strategy for the recruitment and retention of players that will be approved by the university to make success possible.

On his vision for rugby at the UFS, Mr Horak says: “It is a great privilege for me to be involved with KovsieRugby. Good work was done by Mr Jaco Swanepoel that I would like to take further to give players the best chance to be successful. Winning is what it is about and I am really looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead for all of us. My coaching team of Quintin Kruger, Hendro Scholtz and Barry Goodes is incredibly motivated to serve Shimlas rugby and to achieve success. We hope that everybody will support us and we are looking forward to seeing everybody at Shimla Park when the Shimlas win!”

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