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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

Kovsies get a free pass
2014-06-23

As from this year, a fee of R20 is charged to park on the Bloemfontein Campus during the Vryfees arts festival. All staff and students of the UFS with valid cards will be able to park for free, though.

The cost of a ticket is R20 per day or R60 for the entire week (Tuesday 15 July to Saturday 19 July 2014). The parking ticket is issued per car and is valid for the entire day. You can therefore enter and leave the campus as many times as you like for that particular day. Parking will be free on Sunday 20 July 2014.

You can buy your parking tickets in advance from Computicket. Tickets will also be available at the gates. Two Computicket representatives will be present at each gate to sell tickets and collect ticket stubs.
 
These fees are only applicable to visitors of the Vryfees festival – not to university staff, -students or campus guests.

Kovsies who present their valid staff or student cards will have free access to the campus. All service providers, shop owners, conference attendants and other guests of the university will be provided with complimentary tickets for the duration of the Vryfees.

The university – as partner of the festival – will channel the funds from these tickets towards financing art projects in collaboration with the Vryfees.

All five gates of the university will be in use during the festival:
• Main gate (Nelson Mandela Drive),
• Roosmaryn (Badenhorst Street),
• Medical Faculty (corner of DF Malherbe and Wynand Mouton Drives),
• Agriculture (DF Malherbe Drive) and
• the top gate close to Tempe (Fürstenburg Street).

Golf carts will ensure convenient transport to festival-goers between venues and parking areas.

For any further information, phone Maritsa Barlow on +27(0)51 404 7947 or +27(0)76 285 8387.

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