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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

Kovsies successfully host USSA Football Club Championships
2016-04-13

Description: 2016 04 12 KL Soccer Tags: Kovsies successfully host USSA Football Club Championships
Kovsies and Tshwane University of Technology in action at the University Sport South Africa Football Club Championships.
Photo: Charl Devenish

All 30 teams fought fiercely for their positions at the University Sport South Africa (USSA) Football Club Championships 2015 Tournament, held at the University of the Free State. The tournament was meant to be hosted here in Bloemfontein last year, but was re-scheduled for 21-25 March 2016. The University of Pretoria became champions in the men’s section, while the women’s trophy found a home at the University of the Western Cape.

Of the15 institutions taking part in the men’s section, Kovsies emerged at number 11. Our women’s team took the number seven spot among the 14 contenders.

KovsieSoccer coach, Godfrey Tenoff, was impressed with the women’s team. “Our girls outperformed themselves, given that we had only 15 players when we started the tournament, and ended up with 10 who were intact. They were absolutely phenomenal. We never lost in the group matches. The strength of the group enabled us to qualify for the Varsity Football competition.”

On the other hand, the performance of the men’s team was less impressive. “It’s disappointing that we did not produce the kind of performance needed for big competitions, although we had the best team. We are number one in the SAB League, yet some players are lacking the big match temperament,” he said.

However, there is still hope for better scores. The forthcoming Vodacom Cup and the USSA Championships taking place later this year are an opportunity to improve.

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