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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 Language Policy Review
2015-08-30

Invitation to members of the UFS Convocation

Members of the Convocation are invited to attend a meeting where an opportunity will be given for submissions to be made:

Date: Wednesday 30 September 2015
Time: 17:30-19:30
Venue: CR Swart Auditorium, Bloemfontein Campus

Members of the UFS Convocation are all permanent academic staff members - from lecturer to professor; all permanent support service staff, from Deputy Director to Vice-Chancellor and Rector - by virtue of their respective offices; and all students (current and former) who obtained a formal qualification at the university.

There are two options to members of the Convocation to participate in the review process:

  1. Attend the Convocation meeting on 30 September 2015 and make an oral submission of no more than 5 minutes; or
  2. If you prefer not to make your submission in public, submit it online by sending an email to language@ufs.ac.za by 30 September 2015.

The current Language Policy is available at http://www.ufs.ac.za/adhoc-pages/policy-documents/language-policy.

For background information on the review, go to: http://www.ufs.ac.za/language-policy

 

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