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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

2014 Winter Graduation
2014-06-27

 
It is time for the 2014 Winter Graduation on our Bloemfontein Campus. From 2 – 4 July 2014 Masters and Doctoral degrees will be bestowed on graduates from across all seven faculties as well as the School of Open Learning. These include the conferral of Medicine degrees on the South African Cuban trainees.

Wednesday 2 July 2014 at 14:30: School of Open Learning
The School of Open Learning will confer a total of 609 degrees this year – almost double compared to the 320 of last year.

Thursday 3 July 2014 at 09:30: Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
Prof Magdalena Blum will receive an Honorary Doctorat, DPhil honoris causa, at this event. Prof Blum is an Extension Systems Officer in Rome. She works for a specialised agency of the United Nations called the Food and Agriculture Organization. This organisation’s mandate is:
• to improve nutrition,
• increase agricultural productivity,
• raise the standard of living in rural populations and
• contribute to global economic growth.

Her position serves to modernise and strengthen rural advisory services, their systems and networks worldwide. She has filled this position for almost nine years.

Prof Blum is driven by a passion for development, humanitarian work and female upliftment, but most of all, to enable people to help themselves.

Blum’s life has taken her from a small German village to Africa, Asia and Europe – and she has made an impact wherever she went.

Thursday 3 July 2014 at 14:30: Faculties of Economic and Management Sciences, Humanities, Education, Health Sciences, Law and Theology
At this ceremony, Faculty of the Humanities will award an Honorary Doctorate, DPhil honoris causa, on Prof Laura Mulvey. She is a feminist film theorist and worked at the British Film Institute for many years. She is currently a professor at Film and Media Studies at Birkbeck, University of London.

Prof Mulvey was prominent as an avant-garde filmmaker in the 1970s and ‘80s. In collaboration with her husband, Peter Wollen, she co-wrote and co-directed:
• Penthesilea: Queen of the Amazons (1974),
• Riddles of the Sphinx (1977, perhaps their most influential film),
• AMY! (1980),
• Crystal Gazing (1982),
• Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti (1982), and
• The Bad Sister.

In 1991, she returned to filmmaking with Disgraced Monuments, which she co-directed with Mark Lewis.

Friday 4 July 2014 at 10:30: Special Graduation Ceremony
Conferral of Medicine Degrees on the South African Cuban trainees at the UFS

Live streaming will be available on: http://www.ufs.ac.za/ufslivestreaming/

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