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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

Badminton players show their class
2007-06-04

Kovsie badminton players showed their class at the 2007 All African Championships held in Rose Hills, Mauritius during May, just as they did last year in Algeria.

In the individual championships in the men's double event Chris and Roelof Dednam again successfully combined for gold with a victory in the final over Steve Malcouzane and Georgie Cupidon of the Seychelles. Chris Dednam and Michelle Edwards also made the final
round in the mixed double event, but were beaten by Georgie Cupidon and Julliette Ahwan (Seychelles) to settle for a silver medal.

In the men's singles event Chris Dednam equalled last year's performance and was awarded with bronze, having lost 24-22 in the third set in the semi-finals in a marathon match against Eli Mambwe (Zambia). It was therefore once again in the men's singles where South Africa could not vest their supremacy in Africa. But, Chris improved his tally of medals to gold, silver and bronze. Roelof also showed good form by making the quarter-finals in the singles as well as the mixed doubles.

Fellow Kovsie, Wiaan Viljoen, joined the Dednam brothers and the rest of the South African team for silver in the team competition.

A week earlier, in the Mauritius International tournament, Chris won gold by winning the mixed doubles event with Michelle Edwards (against the same Georgie Cupidon and Julliette Ahwan), while the Dednam brothers had to settle for silver in the men's double event losing to Germany's Thomas Tesche and Jochen Cassel.

Chris and Roelof Dednam have qualified, because of their current position on the world ranking table, for the men's doubles in the World Badminton Championships to be played in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in August this year.
 

Roelof and Chris Dednam

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