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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

Champion of human rights – Prof Martha Minow – to present the Third Annual Reconciliation Lecture
2014-02-14

 

 

Prof Martha Minow
"Forgiveness, Law and Justice"
Photo: Supplied

Prof Martha Minow, Dean of Harvard University’s Law School, will be delivering the highly-anticipated Third Annual Reconciliation Lecture on Monday 24 February 2014. Her lecture entitled “Forgiveness, Law and Justice” promises to evoke healthy debate and honest introspection.

In an interview, Pres Barack Obama has been quoted to say that, as a teacher at Harvard Law School, Martha Minow changed his life. He cited her as being instrumental in his decision to pursue community service instead of commercial law.

Prof Minow – a sheer force of nature – has established herself globally as an advocate of human rights and protector of minorities. The effects of her work are rippling across continents. Her passion for the law has resulted in legislative initiatives that opened access to curricular materials for individuals with disabilities in the United States. She serves as Vice-Chair for an organisation providing assistance to low-income Americans. In addition, Prof Minow has also helped launch a programme called Imagine Co-existence for the UNHigh Commissioner for Refugees. The aim of the programme is to promote peaceful development in post-conflict societies.

The Annual Reconciliation Lecture is organised from the office of Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela. This yearly event was established by Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS. The main objective is to bring scholars to our university whose leadership and vision for social change and conflict transformation is reflected in their interaction within the academe and their teaching. This initiative supports the university’s drive to achieving excellence not only in the field of academics, but in human reconciliation as well.

The details of the event:
Date: Monday 24 February 2014
Time: 17:30 (please be seated by 17:15)
Venue: Centenary Complex, Reitz Hall, BloemfonteinCampus

The public is welcome to attend.
If you would like to attend the lecture, please confirm with Jo-Anne Naidoo at NaidooJA@ufs.ac.za

The lecture will be streamed live on:http://www.ufs.ac.za/ufslivestreaming/


 

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