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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

What if we put it to you that Barry Roux is to visit Kovsies?
2015-08-20


Advocate Barry Roux in action at Oscar Pistorius' trial.
Photo: Supplied

The SRC Legal and Constitutional Affairs office, in conjunction with the Law Faculty, are launching the Student Court this week.

 

Barry Roux, the renowned South African legal representative who served as the defence advocate in the trial of Oscar Pistorius, will be the keynote speaker.

 

Guest speakers include Judge Lebotsang Bosieloof the South African Supreme Court of Appeal. Prof Caroline Nicholson and Prof Teuns Verschoor are to represent our Law Faculty as Dean and Lecturer, respectively.

 

In 2014, when Lindokuhle Ntuli occupied the Legal and Constitutional Affairs office within the Student Representative Council (SRC), the concept of this Judicial Branch of Student Governance was conceived.

 

“I established the Student Court because I strongly believed that we needed a student forum, beyond the University’s Disciplinary Committee,” said Lindokuhle. He added that such a forum allows for dealing with disputes between students and testing the validity of the Student Court’s constitution and the regulations of the university.

 

The Student Court’s aim is to administer justice according to these documents. It intervenes in decision-making matters between students, associations, or any part of the student body, at a student level. Other functions of this legal body involve regulating irresponsibly behaviour among students in order to uphold the integrity of the University of the Free State.

 

You are invited to the launch event:

 

Friday 21 August 2015

17:00

Economic and Management Sciences Auditorium (EBW), Bloemfontein Campus

 

For more information contact Lindokuhle Ntuli on 051 401 2082 or ntuliL@ufs.ac.za

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