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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 in partnership with USA ’s Council on Economic Education 
2006-02-01

A visit to the campus of the UFS was part of the recent NCEE workshop.  Standing from the left are Prof Soehendro (Chairperson:  National Education Standardisation Body of Indonesia), Prof Herman van Schalkwyk (Dean:  Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the UFS), Prof Elena Reshetnyak (Vice-Dean for International Programs, Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute, Kharkiv, Ukraine) and Mrs Annely Minnaar (local coordinator of the NCEE and professional officer of the UFS Department of Agricultural Economics).  Seated are from left Prof  Sutjipto ( Chairman of the Indonesian Council on Economic Education) and Dr Patty Elder (Vice-President of the NCEE's national programme).
Photo: Stephen Collett


UFS in partnership with USA ’s Council on Economic Education 

A group of 50 teachers in Economics, learning facilitators and lecturers from eight countries attended a ‘train the trainers’ workshop this past week in Bloemfontein.  The workshop forms part of the outreach programme of the National Council on Economic Education (NCEE) in the United States of America’s (USA) effort to improve the quality of the training in Economics of teachers and lecturers across the world. 

The UFS and the Free State Department of Education are the NCEE’s first partners in Africa.  “The initiative started in the Free State because of the connection that existed between the UFS and the NCEE,” said Prof Klopper Oosthuizen, from the UFS Department of Agricultural Economics and initiator of the cooperative agreement with the NCEE.

Three faculties at the UFS are involved in the cooperative agreement namely the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, the Faculty of the Humanities and the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.

A group of 84 teachers and learning facilitators in the Free State attended the ‘train the teacher’ workshop at the UFS in December 2005 in an effort to improve the quality of Economics classes at schools in the Free State.  The last national workshop will take place in June 2006 in Bloemfontein.  During this workshop a group of 40 teachers and learning facilitators in the Free State will be trained by the NCEE.    

“Because of the success with the programme in the Free State Dr Patty Elder, Vice-President of the NCEE’s national programme, announced during last week’s workshop that the initiative will now be extended to the other provinces in the country,” said Prof Oosthuizen.  According to Prof Oosthuizen discussions around a strategy to get the other provinces on board of the programme also took place between Dr Elder and Prof Herman van Schalkwyk, Dean of the UFS Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.  Prof van Schalkwyk will take the lead in this regard.  

“The presence of Dr Elder and the executive directors of similar education networks in the Ukraine and Indonesia is an indication of the NCEE’s seriousness with the programme in Africa,” said Prof Oosthuizen.

Prof Oosthuizen explained that South Africa is competing to obtain funds from the NCEE to have a total South African representation in the workshops in the following one-year training period. 

South Africa has a good chance of establishing the network quickly because of the presentation of the last national workshop in Bloemfontein in June 2006.  “We are going to try to have as much South African representation as possible at this workshop,” said Prof Oosthuizen.

Concurrent with the workshop in June 2006, a programme will be developed that will be attended by at least five other provincial education departments and representatives of five other universities.  These representatives will then be able to observe on a first-hand basis how this action learning takes place and how the participating countries plan to establish and expand their networks,” said Prof Oosthuizen.

“The NCEE has been working together with international partners since 1992 to strengthen their Economics teaching systems.  They have already succeeded in increasing literacy in Economics of schools in the USA and more than 20 East Block countries.  More than 1,5 million learners in the East Block countries have already been served by this initiative,” said Prof Oosthuizen.

According to Prof Oosthuizen the focus of the NCEE has since 2004 moved away from the East Block countries to Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.  The representatives that attended last week’s workshop were from South Africa, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Indonesia, Mexico, Paraguay and Uruguay.  Countries such as Egypt, who was also present at last week’s workshop, are eager to start a similar network. 

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:   (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
31 January 2006

 
 

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