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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

UFS council awards honorary doctorates
2007-03-22

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) has decided to confer honorary doctorates on architect Prof. Barend Johannes Britz and author Mr Khotso Pieter David Maphalla.

Prof. Bannie Britz is being honoured for his contribution to architecture and Mr Maphalla for his contribution to the development of the Sesotho language and culture.
Prof. Britz worked as an architectural assistant abroad as well as in South Africa between 1961 and 1964, before establishing his own practice in 1968. He obtained a master’s degree in Urban Design in 1991 and was awarded the Prize of the City of Johannesburg for the best urban design dissertation.

He was appointed as Professor and Head of the Department of Architecture at the UFS in 1992. Prof. Britz is a member of several professional associations and has received 17 merit awards as well as a gold medal of excellence from the Institute of SA Architects.

Mr Maphalla is a prolific Sesotho author and has contributed significantly to the development of the Sesotho language and culture through his poetry, novels, dramas and short stories.

Most of his books have been prescribed for secondary schools throughout the country. His collected works are still used as reference works for literary studies by African Languages Departments at most South African universities.

Mr Maphalla played a significant role in the establishment of the South African National Sesotho Authors’ Association and has been the recipient of numerous awards for his sterling work. These include the M-net Book Prize in 1996 and a Lifetime Achiever Award in 2005 from the National Department of Arts and Culture, the first and only Sesotho author to have received this award thus far.

Media release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@mail.ufs.ac.za
19 March 2007
 

 
Prof. Bannie Britz

 
Mr. Khotso Pieter David Maphalla

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