Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2017 2018 2019 2020
Previous Archive
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

International conference on breaking cycles of the past in societies affected by historical trauma presented from 5-8 December 2012
2012-11-28

Marguerite Barankitse from Burundi
28 November 2012

An interdisciplinary group of scholars, experts and practitioners from 24 countries around the world will gather at the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein from 5 - 8 December 2012 for a conference on “Engaging the Other: Breaking Intergenerational Cycles of Repetition.”

The conference intends to open new avenues of inquiry into the trans-generational effects of trauma on communities that have experienced extreme violence.

One of the highlights of the conference is a presentation by Marguerite Barankitse, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide, on Thursday 6 December 2012. Marguerite has received several awards and distinctions for her work aimed at transforming the lives of Hutu and Tutsi children affected by war. Among these are the highly prestigious humanitarian prize, the Opus Prize, the UNESCO Prize, and the World's Children's Prize, also known as the ‘Nobel Prize’ for humanitarian work aimed at improving the lives of children and their chances of a better future.

On Saturday 8 December 2012 Prof. Martha Nussbaum, one of the world’s foremost philosophers, will deliver a keynote address on “Reconciliation: The political role of the Arts.” Prof. Nussbaum will receive a D.Litt. degree in the Faculty of Humanities from the UFS on 6 December 2012.

Other guests include Michael Lapsley, survivor of an apartheid bombing, Kimberlyn Leary, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School,  Dr Jean Decety, Irving B. Harris Professor at the University of Chicago and Dr Katerina Fotopoulou from the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University College in London.

One of the conference events entitled “South Africans speak about the crisis of moral leadership: A public dialogue” will be open to the public and presented in the Centenary Complex on Friday 7 December 2012 from 18:00-19:30. Participants in the public dialogue include some of South Africa’s most thoughtful social commentators and a community activist: Barney Pityana (Professor and Rector, College of Transfiguration); Prince Mashele (Director: Centre for Politics and Research); Pierre de Vos (Professor of Law, University of Cape Town); and Faeza Meyer (Chairperson: Tafelsig Residents Unite).

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept