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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 Centenary celebrations come to an end
2005-02-03

OFFICIAL OPENING

The official opening of the UFS will take place on Friday 04 February 2005 at 09:00 in the Reitz Hall (Centenary Complex). Please note that this is a test and lecture free day. The Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Frederick Fourie will be the keynote speaker. Refreshments will be served at the Centenary Complex after the opening ceremony.

The historic Centenary photograph will be taken at 11:00 on the eastern side of the Red Square (CR Swart parking area). All staff members and students are invited to be part of this massive photograph.

Important

• There will be no parking allowed on the CR Swart parking area until 12:00 on Friday 04 February 2005, as a result of the photo session.

• All academic staff members are requested to wear academic dress on the day, seeing as staff members will depict the Centenary emblem on the photograph. Academic gowns may be collected from the Gown Store on Wednesday 02 - Thursday 03 February 2005 between 08:00 and 16:00. Gowns must be returned to the Gown Store after the photograph has been taken.

SERVICE OF DEVOTION

A special service of devotion will take place on Sunday 06 February 2005 at 18:00 for 18:30 in front of the Main Building on the Red Square. This is a special gathering of students, hosted by all the interdenominational groups on the UFS campus. The evening will be a celebration of praise, thanks and worship, followed by a message from Dr Wollie Grobler. The evening will conclude with song and fireworks.

Staff members and students are welcome to bring their friends and families to this special event.

Important

• Even though there will be chairs in front of the Main Building, staff members and students are requested to bring extra pillows and blankets to sit on.

• No persons or vehicles will be allowed on the eastern side of the Red Square or on the CR Swart parking area, due to the security requirements of the fireworks show.

• All members of the choir are invited to be part of the mass choir. Lyrics will be provided.

• All persons who attend this event are requested to bring a candle for the purpose of the mass choir.

• Special transportation arrangements will be made for all service workers to enable them to attend the service. If there is someone in your faculty, department or division who would like to make use of this service, please send an e-mail to Elize Rall (ralle.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za) no later than Tuesday 01 February 2005.

OTHER ACTIVITIES

• A reunion for all former SRC members of the UFS will take place on the campus, from 04 February to 06 February 2005. An interesting programme is being planned. For more information, please contact Nicolaas du Plessis on 084 955 0875.

• The annual Rag Procession will take place on Saturday 05 February 2005. For more information, contact the Rag Office at X 2718.

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