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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

Renewal process in JBM Hertzog Residence
2014-03-19

In February 2014, the JBM Hertzog residence community initiated a process of renewal. The review and reassessment of university symbols and traditions is nothing new; it takes place on a regular basis through the institution.

This means that various conversations take place to consult students on the evaluation of their residence’s values, symbols, systems and traditions in a changing South Africa. The university is deeply committed to continuously renewing its residence cultures through focused conversations in order to be more inspiring and welcoming to all students. The involvement of students in co-creating such spaces remains paramount.

The university regrets the deliberate and misleading information in the media on the process underway in JBM. The importance of student involvement consequently calls for the distribution of accurate information in order to avoid uncertainties, misunderstandings and incorrect perceptions.

It is therefore important to state the following regarding the current renewal process in JBM Hertzog:

1. No memorabilia or photos have been removed, and no final decisions have been taken in this regard. These decisions form an integral part of the consultation process described above.

2. The name of the residence (among other symbols) is part of the consultation process. It is also important to note that all suggested name changes at the UFS are subject to the approval of the institutional Naming Committee and the University Council.

3. The perception that this process is being used to eliminate certain unique cultural identities is incorrect. However, what this process aims to achieve is a more inclusive and welcoming residence culture, and throughout this will be done in consultation with all students.

All current residents of JBM Hertzog are invited to form part of this renewal process. In conclusion, the UFS wishes to convey its appreciation to the Residence Committee members and the residents for their positive attitude and continuous support during this very important process.

Prof Jonathan Jansen
Vice-Chancellor and Rector
University of the Free State
 

Issued by: Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Telephone: +27(0)51 401 2584 or +27 (0) 83 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 (0) 51 444 6393

 

 

 

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