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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

Scaena Theatre: Steel Magnolias
2007-08-22

Steel Magnolias

By: Robert Harling
Director: Elizna Pieters

With: Eileen van der Merwe, Nicole Smit, Nastacia de Klerk, Jenette Vivier, Isabel Mostert, Ilse Hancke

Steel Magnolias is a must-see production soon to be performed by drama students in their second year at the University of the Free State. It is directed by Elizna Pieters, currently doing her B.A. Drama and Theatre Arts (Hons) in directing.

The action is set in Truvy's beauty salon in Chinquapin, Louisiana, where all the ladies who are "anybody" come to have their hair done. Helped by her eager new assistant, Annelle (who is not sure whether or not she is still married), the outspoken, wise-cracking Truvy dispenses shampoos and free advice to the town's rich curmudgeon: Ouiser ("I'm not crazy, I've just been in a bad mood for forty years"), an eccentric millionaire; Miss Clairee, who has a raging sweet tooth; and the local social leader, M'Lynn, whose daughter, Shelby (the prettiest girl in town), is about to marry a "good ole boy”.

Although filled with hilarious repartee and verbal collisions, the play moves toward tragedy when the spunky Shelby, a diabetic, risks pregnancy. Soon the women realize that they share everything, from the shampoo and gossip right down to love, loss and an underlying strength. This gives the play and its characters, the special quality to make them truly touching, funny and marvelously amiable company in good times and bad.

Steel Magnolias can be seen at the Scaena Theatre on the UFS campus, on 11 and 13 September 2007 (English Production).

Ysterasters is te sien in die Sceana Teater (UV-kampus) op 12 en 14 September.  (Afrikaanse Produksie)

Reservations / Tickets: Department Drama and Theatre Arts

Emmie van Wyk - +27 51 401 2160

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