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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

Mandela Day Vryfees concert aims to impress
2014-07-15

This year we celebrate Mandela Day with musical flair at the Vryfees. Well-known artists will give freely of their time and talent as part of their 67 minutes to help raise funds for the University of the Free State’s (UFS) No Student Hungry programme (NSH).

The UFS NSH Mandela Day Tribute Concert boasts artists such as Mathys Roets, Navi Redd, Corneil Muller, 3 x A Lady, Jacobus Silver and the 2014 Stage Door winners, the Akasia Ser Group. Performances ranging from the warm acoustic guitar and vocals of Mathys Roets, to the energetic a cappella medley of Navi Redd, promise to captivate and entertain the audience.

Angelo Mockie and Tonderai Chiyindiko, renowned for their excellent directing in numerous productions, are proud supporters of the NSH programme and hereby invite you to celebrate one of our country's most inspiring icons while helping us help our students. All of the concert proceeds will be donated to the NSH programme.

The NSH programme was initiated in 2011 by Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State, and Rudi Buys, Dean of Student Affairs. The bursary is awarded on the basis of financial need, good academic performance, active participation in student life programmes and a commitment to serving the community. 
 
Buy your tickets at Computicket or at the Vryfees ticket office on the Bloemfontein Campus.

UFS NSH Mandela Day Tribute Concert
Date: 19 July 2014
Venue: Odeion, Bloemfontein Campus
Time: 15:00
Cost: R110

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