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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

Zahara headlining Kovsie Extravaganza
2012-10-03

Photo: Thabo Kessah
2 September 2012

On Saturday 13 October 2012, the university will host the annual Kovsie Extravaganza. The music festival, named Zircus, will showcase the best of our student performers as well as the multiple South African Music Award-winning singing sensation, Zahara.

The musician will share the stage with local groups such as the UFS Choir, the Chamber Choir as well as Voices Inc. The Sêr groups of the residences Emily Hobhouse, Sonnedou, Tswelopele, Vishuis, Villa Bravado and Welwitchia have also been lined up for the show. Veritas and Marjolein, the winners of the Campus Sêr competition who came third and second respectively in the National Sêr competition are also part of the exciting line-up.

The show, the Arts and Culture office's final event of the year, promises to wow and thrill students, staff and members of the public with some breath-taking performances from the wide array of talent that Kovsies’ possesses.Tickets are available in Office 5 and 6, Thakaneng Bridge with students paying R50 while the public pay R80.

Venue: Callie Human Centre
Date: 13 October 2012
Time: 19:30

For more information call 051 401 9876/2819.


 

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