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

Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice: cultivating humanity
2014-12-15

Directors of university centres focusing on Social Justice, Diversity and Transformation met at the UFS to establish the Directors' Forum. The forum discussed the state of higher education transformation in South Africa  The forum consists of (from the left) Mr Allan Zinn from the The Centre for the Advancement of Non-racialism and Democracy at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Profs Melissa Steyn from Wits University's Centre for Diversity Studies,  Andre Keet Director of the The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice at the University of the Free State; Rozena Maart  from The Centre for Critical Research on Race and Identity  at the University of KwaZulu Natal and Mr JC van der Merwe, researcher at the UFS Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice
Photo: O'Ryan Heideman

The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice at the University of the Free State (UFS) provides a critical space that brings different voices, ideas and practices together to advance the Human and Academic Projects of the university. Students, staff and community members meet here to find ways to engage with diverse views, realities and aspirations.

“We cultivate humanity so that reconciliation and social justice can be expressed in our everyday life and we work against disrespect and inequalities on our campuses and in our society,” says Prof André Keet, Director of the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice.

“Through our various critical conversations, public lectures, seminars and colloquia, fresh understandings and ideas come to the fore and new inclusive ways of doing life in a local and global multicultural society are invented,” Prof Keet says. A host of international experts formed part of the institute’s events during 2014.

Dr Charles Alexander (University of California), Prof Halleh Ghorashi (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Prof Alex Hinton (Rutgers University), Dr Shirley Anne Tate (University of Leeds) and Prof Susan Spearey (Brock University) were but a few of the international experts contributing to the work of the institute during the last year.

“We play key roles in transformation debates within Higher Education South Africa (HESA) and ministerial processes,” Prof Keet says. “We promote, protect and monitor human rights across our campuses and are frequently requested to support the work of the South African Human Rights Commission and to provide advice to other state agencies.”

The institute prides itself on their leading-edge research on social cohesion, reconciliation, human rights and higher education transformation. In addition, staff of the institute teaches, on invitation, at various faculties, as well as at other national and international universities.

To further bolster their impact, the institute is launching three master’s and doctoral postgraduate programmes in January 2015.

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