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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

UFS SIFE is the best in SA!
2004-07-09

The SIFE team celebrates their victory with Jack Shewmaker, founder of SIFE in 1975 and past-president of Walmart in the USA, and Moses Kgosana, Chairman of KPMG SA.

The Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team of the University of the Free State competed in the National SIFE championships on Thursday, June 17, 2004 at Ceasar’s Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Strong competition was experienced from the other ten participant SA universities, e.g. the Universities of the Western Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Cape Town and RAU, but die UFS SIFE team retained the national championship for the third year running.

The team will now represent South Africa and the University of the Free State in Barcelona, Spain at die SIFE World Cup. The competition will be held from 22 to 24 September 2004.

The presentation team members for the competition were Tsholofelo Tlhomelang, Imameleng Matete, Kenneth Lefa, Kabelo Lephaka, Nadia van Staden, Tshepo Mahloko (Multi-Media), Werner Schmidt (Faculty Advisor). Supporting the presentation team were Lineo Peete, Keketso Ntene, Ruth Morienyane, Motaung Mathaba, Tshireletso Seekoe, Peter Letsoalo, Obakeng Msuthwana, Tshepiso Lebentle, JC Langeveldt and Michelle Stanley.

SIFE is a world-wide non-profit organisation with the express aim of encouraging students to spread their business knowledge - gained in the classroom - to the community, to promote and expand the principles of free enterprise.( www.sife.org )

The criteria by which SIFE-projects are measured are the following:

• How free markets work in the global economy.
• How entrepreneurs succeed by identifying a market need and then profitably producing and marketing a product or service to fill that need.
• The personal entrepreneurial, communications, technology and financial management skills needed to successfully compete.
• Practicing business in an ethical and socially responsible manner that supports the principles of a market economy.
• Measuring the results of projects, utilizing mass media and the Internet, involving non-business majors and utilizing a Business Advisory Board, communicating the program through a written report and verbal presentation.

The UFS’ SIFE-team’s presentation complied with all the above mentioned criteria. SIFE UFS’ education drive stretched from primary school learners, to adults who had been working for thirty years – this diverse group was taught about the free market system and its value in the global village. Business ethics and basic business principles were communicated in a fun and interactive way to learners. High-level business advice was given to entrepreneurs who started new projects, e.g. a brick-maker, and marketing advice were given to existing businesses in need of expansion.

If you are interested in helping SIFE UFS achieve its goals, e-mail Werner Schmidt at
schmidtw.ekw@mail.uovs.ac.za or phone him at 051 – 401 3376.

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