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

An astrophysics pioneer at Kovsies
2014-01-05

Prof Pieter Meintjes

Over the last decade Prof Pieter Meintjes’ strong background in astrophysics led to the development of a course of excellence at the University of the Free State.

Today we present an Astrophysics degree at our university, from first-year courses to PhDs.

Meintjes matriculated at the Sybrand van Niekerk High School in Sabie and completed a BSc in Physics and Mathematics at the North-West University in 1988. In 1990 and 1993 he respectively obtained his MSc and PhD in Physics from the same university.

Hereafter he spent a post-doctoral year at the Max Planck Institute for Space Science near München in Germany. In January 1997, Meintjes was appointed as a senior lecturer at our university’s Department of Physics. He was promoted to Professor in Physics in 2008.

Prof Meintjes is a member of the South African Institute for Physics (SAIP) and during 2002-2004 he was also co-chair of the astrophysics and space science group of SAIP. He serves on the executive committee of the National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme (NASSP) and is often a visiting lecturer at the University of Cape Town. He is a NRF-supported researcher and author and co-author of 70 publications in high-profile international journals and published conference issues.

During 2011-2013 he successfully delivered three PhD students along with one MSc student. His PhD students also delivered addresses at international conferences in Champery (Switzerland), Heidelberg (Germany), Paris (France), Barcelona (Spain) and Milan (Italy), Cape Town and the Kruger Game Reserve.

Over the last two years he has also been the author and co-author of six publications in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS), as well as various publications in the Astrophysical Journal in support of the international planet search programme. A further 12 publications also came forth from Meintjes’ international conference contributions.

During the recent H.E.S.S. meeting in Namibia, Meintjes was appointed as the latest member of the highly-regarded international cooperation with H.E.S.S.

His membership of the H.E.S.S. group is due to his knowledge on gamma rays, which entails research on high-energy astrophysics.

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