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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

Shimlas get back on track
2014-02-26

The Shimlas overpowered a startled UJ side in Bloemfontein on Monday, scoring seven tries en route to a 52-16 victory in the fourth round of the Varsity Cup competition.

The UFS’s second win in four weeks saw them climb the log standings to a well deserved third position. The Shimlas took an early lead in the match, with blindside flank Oupa Mohoje scoring the opening try from an attacking line-out.

Our boytjies was on a roll, with wing Maphuto Dolo scoring in the corner after a break from a scrum by scrumhalf Kevin Luiters. Kovsies' flyhalf Gouws Prinsloo knocked both conversions over to put our team in a commanding 16-0 lead before the first strategy break. Not long after, the Shimlas scored their third try as left wing Sethu Tom found the corner to make it 21-0. T his was followed by yet another onslaught when Shimlas’ skipper, Joubert Engelbrecht, crashed over for the bonus-point try. Outside centre, Tertius Kruger, put even more pressure on the UJ side when he crossed the try line, leaving the Shimlas with a 34-0 lead at half-time.

Prinsloo slotted a penalty early in the second half for Shimlas, followed by skipper Engelbrecht’s second try. After 15 minutes into the second half, UJ managed to score two converted tries to change the scoreboard to 44-16. T his did, however, not spur the visitors on to complete a comeback and the Shimlas' Divandré Strydom gave our team the last say with one final try.

The scorers:
For FNB UFS-Shimlas:
Tries: Oupa Mohoje, Maphuto Dolo, Sethu Tom, Joubert Engelbrecht (2), Tertius Kruger, Divandré Strydom
Cons: Gouws Prinsloo (5)
Pen: Gouws Prinsloo

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