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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

Pansalb’s Language Rights Monitor Project launched at the UFS
2007-01-25

 

 Attending the launch of the Language Rights Monitoring Project were, from the left: Mr Edward Sambo (acting head of Pansalb), Prof Engela Pretorius (Vice-Dean of the Faculty of the Humanities at the UFS), Prof Theo du Plessis (Director: Unit for Language Management at the UFS) and Mr Vusi Ntlakana (head of the Free State provincial office of Pansalb).

 
 Pansalb’s Language Rights Monitor Project launched at the UFS
 
The Unit for Language Management at the University of the Free State (UFS), in collaboration with the Pan-South African Language Board (Pansalb), today launched the Language Rights Monitor Project on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein.
 
In accordance with the Pansalb Act of 1995, Pansalb is responsible for the promotion and protection of language rights in South Africa, and is the chief funder of the project.          
 
The Language Rights Monitor Project was initiated in 2002 for a trial period of three years, with the aim of reporting to Pansalb, on an annual basis, on language-rights issues in South Africa, as reflected mainly in the printed media.
 
Since then, three reports have already appeared, covering various aspects relating to language rights, including, inter alia, language-rights complaints, language-rights issues, language litigation, as well as research on language rights in South Africa. Profs Johan Lubbe and Theo du Plessis, as well as Dr Elbie Truter, all associated to the UFS, were responsible for the compilation of the first three reports.
 
During 2006, Pansalb decided to establish the project for an unspecified period of time at the Unit for Language Management at the UFS. It is precisely for this reason that the project is being launched. The South African Language Rights Monitor will henceforth appear annually as a prestige publication of Pansalb, compiled by staff associated with the Unit.
 
However, Pansalb has also decided to further consolidate the project, as a result of the need for a more immediate report, as well as the need to include records drawn from newspapers published in the African languages. It was therefore decided that, as from September 2006, a monthly South African Language Rights Bulletin would also be launched. 
 
Such a bulletin would provide an overview, on a monthly basis, of developments in South Africa concerning language rights, and would enable Pansalb to become more actively involved in crisis situations in which mediation is urgently needed. Two monthly bulletins have already appeared, and were favourably received by Pansalb. During the launch of the project, this bulletin was also introduced to the public for the first time.
 
With the official launch of Pansalb’s Language Rights Monitor project in the Free State, emphasis will be placed on the leading role played by this province, and more specifically by the UFS, in the development and implementation of a multilingual policy.
 
In future, more information on the situation regarding language-rights issues in South Africa will be made available from Bloemfontein, for the benefit of South Africa’s language-rights watchdog, Pansalb, but also for the benefit of other institutions involved in language-rights issues.
 
A constructive contribution will thus be rendered to the cultivation of language justice, an important element of the democratisation process in South Africa.
 
Issued by:
Prof Theo du Plessis
Unit for Language Management, UFS
 
 
Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: (051) 401-2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
24 January 2007

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