Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2017 2018 2019 2020
Previous Archive
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

Wayde van Niekerk conquers Stockholm
2014-06-05

Wherever Kovsie athlete Wayde van Niekerk goes, a trophy seems to follow. This time, Van Niekerk vanquished the rest of the track in Stockholm, Sweden. He won the 200 m for men at the Sollentuna Grand Prix athletics meeting in a time of 20.53 seconds.

This victory closely follows Van Niekerk’s smashing the record in the men's 400m sprint. A record that went unbeaten for 15 years. He re-wrote this piece of history while competing at the Diamond League in New York. Van Niekerk now sets the new SA record at 44.38 seconds. He placed second over-all in the New York race.

In the past six months alone, he has already featured in the SA Student Championships in the 200 m, U/23 National Championships and the Senior Men's National 400 m Championships. He has also participated in the World Junior Championship in Canada and the World Championships in Russia.

At this stage, Van Niekerk is looking forward to the SA National Finals later this year and hopes to break the SA record – which forms part of his journey to Brazil in 2016.

"No success story is easy. One has to keep pushing harder and be the best they can be on and off the track. Never give up, because you are an inspiration," he encourages young athletes.

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept