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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

2015 RAG promises family fun
2015-01-30

The annual Kovsie Rag Community Service (CS) procession will take place on Saturday 31 January 2015 and this year’s theme is all about Video Games and City Icons.

The floats are judged on  31 January andwill depart at 09:00 from the UFS Bloemfontein Campus’ Furstenburg Gate (near Tempe) for the first procession of the day.

Their route will end at Twin City mall where 6 000 meals will be distributed to Heidedal and Mangaung communities.

The float winners will be announced at 17:00, just before the main procession of the day will again depart from Furstenberg Gate in Nelson Mandela Drive.The 2014 UFS Rag queen, Mr Rag and their runners-up will greet the public from the main float. Finalists for the 2015 UFS Rag queen and Mr Rag titles will also accompany the procession.

The popular family festival will take place at Chevrolet Park cricket stadium. There, young and old will be entertained by well-known artists such as K. O, Riana Nel and Matthew Mole.

Do not miss out on this wonderful family festival – come early, bring your family and picnic blanket/chairs to ensure a great spot on the grass. A variety of refreshments will be on sale.

Tickets are available from Computicket as well as at the entrance gates.
Tickets: R80 per person
R50 per child under 12

KFC Rag Procession 31 January 2015 Programme:

09:00 floats depart from the university at the Furstenburg gate
11:00 procession and floats arrive at Twin City Mall in Heidedal
11:00 – 12:00 Westline Aviation air show; distribution of food parcels and balloons released
16:00 Chevrolet Park cricket stadium gates open
18:00 procession and floats depart from the university to Chevrolet Park via Nelson Mandela drive
19:00 – 20:00  Riana Nel
20:00 – 20:45 procession and floats arrive at Chevrolet Park
20:45 – 21:45  Matthew Mole
22:00 – 23:00  K. O

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