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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

Music programme receives a boost
2004-08-20

 

 

Back standing fltr: Mr Peter Guy - Founder and coordinator: Mangaung String Program and snr lecturer at the Musicon; Mrs Francine Duvenage, Manager: Human Resources, Wesbank. Middle fltr: Prof Frederick Fourie, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS; Mr Apie Otto, Area Manager: Vehicles, Wesbank Free State and Northern Cape. Front fltr: Mr John Minaar (17), Gr 12 Sand du Plessis Secondary School; Repiloe Olifant (14) Gr 10 Navalsig Secondary School; Moeketsi Khang (16) Gr 11 Tsoseletso Secondary School; Stella Benbooi (12) Gr 7 Bochabela Primary School.

The Mangaung String Programme, a partnership between the University of the Free State (UFS) and the Free State Musicon, an institution that falls under the auspices of the Free State Department of Sport, Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, has recently received heartened encouragement when an amount of R342 000,00 was granted to the programme by the Wesbank/First Rand Foundation for the purchasing of a bus.

“Transporting the children who are part of the programme back and forth for tuition and rehearsals has been a major problem as most of them stay in the townships on the outskirts of Bloemfontein ,” said Mr Peter Guy, founder and coordinator of the programme.

“The bus will ensure that those children who have the passion, dedication and commitment can spend every afternoon if they so choose practicing, learning about music and rehearsing with children from all over Bloemfontein,” said Mr Guy.

Mr Guy, a Senior Lecturer at the Musicon, started the programme in 1998 with funding from the Musicon Parents Teachers Association, initially with 15 pupils - today 150 children participate in the programme. In 2002 the UFS formed a partnership with the Free State Musicon in the provisioning of facilities, tuition and musical instruments. “Since the involvement of the UFS, the programme has almost tripled in size and one

fulltime teaching position is now jointly funded by both institutions,” said Mr Guy.

According to Mr Guy the Free State Symphony Orchestra has committed itself to providing opportunities for gifted young players from all backgrounds to perform, develop their talents and to grow musically. Some of the children of the Mangaung String Programme will soon be joining the Free State Symphony Concert in concerts.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: (051) 401-2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
19 August 2004
 

 

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