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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 Intravarsity – with a twist
2014-08-12

   

 

The battle of the campuses took place over the weekend of 8–10 August 2014 as our Bloemfontein Campus hosted our Qwaqwa counterparts for the 2014 Intravarsity.

This year the event provided some exhilarating twists to the usual competition. With the theme, ‘Made at Kovsies’, the programme made room for some new and innovative activities. The new setup may even become the format for future intra- and intervarsity events at Kovsies.

For those courageous of heart and daring of body, Vishuis offered the Gladiator games. This resulted in loads of competitive fun and entertainment. On a less physical level, this year also introduced the Kovsie Gaming League. The event presented an electronic sports tournament in which students could battle it out in a digital gaming environment.

The Ultimate Frisbee tournament guaranteed a host of awkward jumps, long stretches and hearts pumping furiously. In celebration of Women’s month, a Women’s Day Fun Run was also incorporated into the weekend.

It was not a case of out with the old, in with the new, though. The usual codes like soccer, volleyball, basketball, chess and table tennis still occupied their rightful places on the programme. But this time round, cultural activities also received a place in the limelight.

A Kovsie United Music Festival provided a safe social environment for students to enjoy themselves in – and scores of feet trampled into the Rag Farm . The two campuses also engaged in a healthy clash of words during the debating event.

Most will agree, though, that the best was kept for last. The Kovsie Sêr finals on Saturday night swept each and every one up in a wave of music and cheer. The Qwaqwa sêr group, Unspoken, made their mark during the evening as they delivered an inspired guest performance. 

The winners of the various events at the 2014 Intravarsity were:

  • Basketball – East College
  • Ultimate Frisbee – East College
  • Table Tennis – North College
  • Gladiators – South College (Ladies) and West College (Men)
  • Winners of Song – Central College
  • Winners of War Cry – Central College
  • Volleyball – South College (Men) and East College (Ladies)
  • Chess – West College and Qwaqwa
  • Soccer – South College (Men) and North College (Ladies)
  • Sêr – Veritas (Men) and Soetdoring (Ladies)

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