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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

Stagedoor 2014 winners
2014-03-31


Akasia
Photo: Jerry Mokoroane



Veritas
Photo: Jerry Mokoroane

The highlight of the annual arts and culture calendar, Stagedoor 2014, was a huge success, with Akasia and Veritas announced as the winners. More talent was also evident at Sonnedou and Wag-‘n-Bietjie, achieving second and third place in the women’s residence division respectively.

In the division for men’s residences, Vishuis was in second place and Villa Bravado in third place.

This year’s theme for the 2014 McDonald’s Stagedoor Finals was ‘Aint nobody got time for that’. The packed Odeion and Kovsie Church were more than enough evidence that everybody has time for singing. Tonderai Chiyindiko, Senior Officer at Arts and Culture: Student Life and Leadership, said that Stagedoor is a perfect example of the diversity of our cultural expression on campus.

Stagedoor is a fun-filled music-theatre competition between campus and city residences where students compete earlier on in the week in rotation rounds, before six to seven residences go through to the finals where they compete for the first place.

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