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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

Free State Forum For Women
2007-06-26

The School of Medicine at the University of the Free State (UFS) presents:

Free State Forum For Women

Doctor, Help! My water is leaking. What do I do now?
Urine incontinence, the Social Dilemma of the Ageing Woman.

The first in a series of talks aimed at knowledge empowerment of the women in our society:

Date: Saturday, 21 July 2007
Time: 08:30 for 09:00 until about 11:00
Venue: Capstone Building, Boerneef Street, Langenhoven Park (opposite the Boeremark)

The programme will comprise of among others:

  • Narratives on emotional experiences, self-esteem, social interaction and physical discomfort associated with urine incontinence;
  • Explanation of the structure and functions of the pelvic floor, and why this happens with the modern woman;
  • Exercises to do at your own time; and
  • Medical and surgical treatment.

    The presenters are Dr Lizeth Roets from the UFS School of Nursing, Dr Daleen Raubenheimer from the Department of Human Anatomy, Ms Berna De Kock from the Department of Human Movement Sciences and Prof. Hennie Cronjé from the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics.


Admission: R40,00 payable on entrance (this includes tea and refreshments). Men are welcome to attend.

Bookings can be made before/on 18 July 2007 with Annette 083 269 3105 or Salmie at 051 405 3555.

Talks will be presented quarterly on topics such as allergy in children, nutrition for babies, overweight and obesity, pregnancy in teenagers, breast cancer, burns, high blood pressure and stroke.
 

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