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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

KovsieTennis wins gold at USSA – again
2014-12-10

The annual University Sport South Africa (USSA) tournament was hosted by the KovsieTennis Club from 1 – 5 December 2014 in Bloemfontein.

This year was the first time that KovsieTennis entered two teams in the tournament. Our first team played in section A, while our second team competed in section B. Both sections were divided into two pools with round robin matches during the first three days. Thursday presented the cross-over with the finals taking place on that Friday.

During the round robin phase, our first team beat Rhodes University, University of Witwatersrand and University of Pretoria. On the Thursday, they met North West University (Pukke) in the semi-final and beat them 8-5 in matches. The last match was not played, since Kovsies already won the semi-final. For the third year in a row, Kovsies faced Stellenbosch University (Maties) in the final. After some brilliant tennis in sweltering heat, Kovsies found themselves 7-5 down in matches with the last two mixed doubles still to be played.

Janine Erasmus and Duke Munro, as number one couple, and Arne Nel and Heidi Murray, as number two couple, played outstanding mix doubles to win both matches, tying the score on 7-7. Due to the fact that Kovsies lost three of their matches in three sets they were crowned champions, winning with 17-14 on sets.

It is the eighth year in a row that the Kovsie club managed to win gold during USSA. We are also the only team that has won the tournament since the format changed to combined teams from 2010.

After the tournament Arne Nel, Duke Munro and Christi Potgieter were included in the squad from which a team will be selected, should tennis feature at the World Student Games in Korea during July 2015. Janine de Kock , KovsieTennis manager, was also appointed as manager of the SA Student team and Marnus Kleinhans from Kovsies will be their coach.

The second team beat Tshwane University of Technology, University of Kwa-Zulu- Natal and University of Cape Town during the round robin and in the semi-finals they won against University of Pretoria. Unfortunately they lost in the final against the North West University, but the club is extremely proud of the players since it was the first time all of them played in a USSA tournament. They gained a lot of experience that will greatly contribute to the value they will add to the team next year.

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