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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 Rector gets reappointed
2007-06-08

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) today unanimously (Friday 8 June 2007) extended the term of Prof. Frederick Fourie, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, for a further five years.

Prof. Fourie was appointed on 1 January 2003 in this position and his current term appointment will expire on 31 December 2007. The extension of his five-year term as Rector and Vice-Chancellor will come into effect on 1 January 2008. .

“During the course of his term Prof. Fourie clearly demonstrated that he has the competencies and abilities to manage the recent strong growth phase of the UFS and to further develop the UFS to be a modern university,” said Judge Faan Hancke, Chairperson of the UFS Council.

“His commitment to quality, integrity, justice, non-racialism and non-sexism are qualities that will be crucial to addressing the strategic objectives and priorities of the UFS,” said Judge Hancke.

According to Judge Hancke, Prof. Fourie’s confrontation of and commitment to two of the most important challenges facing the UFS also played a role in the Council’s decision to extend his term. These challenges are:

  • The institutional charter as key to successful, high-quality transformation and social robustness in the context of diversity; and
  • The strategic clusters as key to a word-class research and teaching profile, academic quality and robustness.

A diversely compiled committee with a balanced representivity made a unanimous decision to submit the extension of Prof. Fourie’s term to Council today for approval. The evaluation committee comprised of among others the chairperson of Council as the presiding officer, the vice-chairperson of Council, other Council members who are not employees of the UFS and representatives of Senate.

The process comprised of the evaluation of Prof. Fourie’s work performance and competencies within a broad framework of the strategic aims of the UFS.

According to Judge Hancke the evaluation committee considered aspects such as the staff profile of the UFS; the vision, mission, values and strategic priorities of the UFS and Prof. Fourie’s vision for the UFS; the inherent post requirements of Rector and Vice-Chancellor; the outcome of the evaluation discussion with regard to Prof. Fourie’s successes during his term as Rector and the future challenges for a rector before the recommendation was made to Council.

“On behalf of Council I wish to congratulate Prof. Fourie with his appointment and wish him all of the best with his task to take the UFS to new heights,” said Judge Hancke.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za
8 June 2007
 

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