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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

Prof Combrink gives 32nd DF Malherbe Memorial Lecture
2014-06-04

Since 2006, Prof HJB Combrink is the project leader of ‘Die Bybel: ’n Direkte Vertaling’. Prof Combrink addressed an audience on the subject of the project at the 32nd DF Malherbe memorial lecture. During the memorial lecture, he quoted DF Malherbe in order to create the context between the recent Direct Translation and the 1933/53 translation which involved Malherbe.

“Some of the younger generation forget that they are standing on the shoulders of workers who served in the muddy ditches of vilification to procure the foundations of a cultural language, and speak belittling and with shrugged shoulders about the first attempts, or show a lack of good comprehension, while judging the verses and tales from the Patriotic period according to aesthetic norms.”

Prof Combrink said that the Direct Translation transpired in a different context than the 1933/53 and the 1983 translations. The direct translation was approached differently and is therefore more inclusive concerning the relevant processes and phases.

“The making of a direct translation was and undoubtedly remains a great challenge,” Prof Combrink said. “It is not always easy to find the correct Afrikaans expression for a Greek or Hebrew idiom or loaded term.”

“It is an ongoing exercise trying to sit in two chairs at the same time. (However), the Bible Society could frankly say that this direct translation is an honest and well-informed attempt to portray all of the communication clues from the Greek and Hebrew source texts in good Afrikaans.”

Prof Combrink was a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church in Wonderboom, Pretoria (1968–1970), lecturer at RAU, UP and SU (New Testament, 1970–2001), and Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the Stellenbosch University for two terms (1992-1994 and 1998–2000). 
 

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