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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

Popular SABC presenter joins the UFS
2007-03-05

Former Lesedi FM Current Affairs presenter, Mr Mangaleso Radebe, has joined the University of the Free State's (UFS) Strategic Communication Division as from today, Monday 5 March 2007.

Mr Radebe is an experienced journalist having worked for the SABC for almost 11 years. He started with the SABC as an intern in 1995 on the now defunct Good Morning South Africa television breakfast show in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.

He also had stints as a general news reporter, sports reporter, freelance producer for SABC Africa, news writer and presenter for the SABC2's Sesotho news bulletin. He joined Lesedi FM in Bloemfontein four years ago as a presenter/producer for Current Affairs programmes.

In his new job at the UFS he will be responsible for media liaison, together with Ms Lacea Loader, with print and electronic media in Bloemfontein and nationally.

According to the Director: Strategic Communication at the UFS, Mr Anton Fisher, the UFS is proud to welcome Mr Radebe as member of staff and look forward to his contribution during this exciting phase of the UFS’s history.

Media release
Issued by: Anton Fisher
Director: Strategic Communication
Cell: 072 207 8334
5 March 2007
 
 

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