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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

Africa and her diaspora grace the Africa Century International Writers’ Conference
2012-10-30

30 October 2012

Programme (Pdf format)

The Africa Century International African Writers’ Conference, organised by the wRite associates, in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture, the University of the Free State (UFS) and the SABC, will take place on the Bloemfontein Campus of the UFS from 7 to 10 November 2012.This four-day conference will culminate in the 2012 South African Literary Awards ceremony where winners will be honoured.

The conference is dedicated to the memory and contribution of its special advisor and inspiration, Zwelakhe Sisulu, who passed away in October 2012.

The conference has attracted an array of scholars and artists from around the continent. The African diaspora will be one of the main features of the programme. Keynote addresses, the presentation of papers, dance, visual art, comedy, disc jockeying will all feature the Diaspora.
 
“This event will also mark the 21st anniversary of the then-OAU (now-AU) declared International African Writers’ Day (i.e. 7th November). The theme of this is: From Resistance to Creative Mediation: Celebrating a Century of Writing and Literary Intellectuals’ Influence On The Liberation Struggles & Political Impact on Literary Discourse and Development”, said Raks Morakabe Seakhoa, Managing Director of the wRite associates and Project Director of the South African Literary Awards and the Africa Century International African Writers Conference.
 
The patrons of the Africa Century International African Writers’ Conference include; Prof. Kgositsile Keorapetse, Prof. Chinua Achebe, Dr Nadine Gordimer, DrWanguiwaGoro and Dr Hugh Masekela.

“This prospective historical gathering of authors, literary scholars and historians will, as the then-OAU’s Conference of African Ministers of Education and Culture (meeting in Coutonou, Benin, in 1991) resolved, ‘…afford the African people a moment of pause within which to reflect on the contribution of African Writers to the development of the Continent’ ”,Seakhoa added.
 
He said, “We are delighted at the growth of the prestigious South African Literary Awards, as they are now spreading their wings to inaugurate the Africa Century International African Writers’ Conference and opening up to the continent and Diaspora’s writers.”
 
Other highlights of this four-day programme include:

  • An evening with the National Poet Laureate: poetry reading by Prof. Keorapetse Kgositsile and guest poets
  • Nobel Laureate, Nadine Gordimer discusses her latest work, ‘No Time Like The Present’
  • Poetry, comedy and performances
  • Creative writing skills development programme, facilitated by: Prof.KeorapetseKgositsile, Mr Walter Chakela and Dr Oswald Mtshali
  • Tsebo-Lethabo Primary and High Schools programme
  • Books, art & crafts and clothing exhibitions and more 

For more information,visit www.africacenturyconference.org or www.sala.org.za
 

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