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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

Nomination process for portfolio of Bloemfontein Campus SRC President re-opened
2015-08-21

  

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) today made the decision to re-open the nomination process for the portfolio of President of the Student Representative Council (SRC) until Monday 24 August 2015 at 16:00.  

The decision to re-open the nomination for the portfolio of President was made after the incumbent SRC submitted a proposal to the IEC to re-open the nomination process for the upcoming SRC elections on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS). 

The announcement of the SRC candidates on Monday 17 August 2015 revealed that only one nominee, Eddie de Wet, met the eligibility requirements for the portfolio of President.  In a letter to the IEC, Mr De Wet expressed his support for the nomination process to be re-opened in order to allow other candidates to campaign for this portfolio.  In the interest of democracy and student participation during the SRC elections, the IEC decided to re-open the nomination process for a given time.

Nomination forms are available at the duty room of Protection Services from Saturday 22 August 2015 at 09:00, or it can be downloaded from the following URL: http://kovsielife.ufs.ac.za/dl/Userfiles/Documents/00001/663_eng.pdf

Completed nomination forms must be handed in at the reception desk of the Student Centre on the Thakaneng Bridge between 09:00 and 16:00 on Monday 24 August 2015.

The SRC elections will take place on Monday 31 August and Tuesday 1 September 2015.

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