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

Prof Helene Strauss delves into the emotion and politics of contemporary South African protest cultures
2014-12-22

Prof Helene Strauss from the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Department of English currently researches the relationship between emotion and politics in contemporary South African public and protest cultures.

The research foregrounds the complex set of concerns opened up by a study of intimacy, read as not simply a sign for emotional and sexual closeness, but more broadly as a complexly mediated site from which to observe the embodied, affective coordinates of various forms of control and contestation. Through the analysis of a range of cultural texts that, for instance, recompose moments of spectacular social upheaval through the lenses of everyday, embodied experience, this research considers what aesthetic responsibility might mean in both post-transitional South Africa and elsewhere.

One aspect of this research charts a gradual shift in South Africa from what is frequently referred to as the ‘liberation euphoria’ of the mid- to late 1990s – and the optimistic fantasies of a future South Africa that characterised dominant public discourse in the period immediately following the political transition – toward an emotional culture in which expressions of anger, disillusionment and disappointment seem to have become relatively widespread.

Prof Strauss asks, for instance, how these public feelings have been managed in the aftermath of events such as the Marikana massacre, and suggests that the affective and temporal dimensions of current attempts at containing perceived threats to financial and political stability on the part of South Africa’s business and political elite are key to understanding increasingly violent and repressive securitisation strategies.

Earlier this year, Prof Strauss presented papers on aspects of this research at two international conferences: (i) the Association for Cultural Studies conference in Tampere, Finland, where she was invited to be part of a ‘Spotlight Panel’ on the topic of African Cultural Studies, (ii) and at a conference at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, which she helped to co-organise.

An article based on some of this work has been published in the journal Safundi.

For more of Prof Strauss’s research published in journals, follow the links below:
http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rsaf20/current#.VAf88_mSxqU
http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/riij20/15/1#.VAf80vmSxqU
http://www.palgrave-journals.com/sub/journal/v4/n2/index.html

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