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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

Ex-SRC Reunion 2005
2005-01-14

The University of the Free State (UFS) is celebrating it centenary with the theme 100+. This celebration does not only focus on the past, but especially on the future for the next 100 years. The conclusion of the Centenary year will be held on 28 January 2005 together with Kovsie Day, a joint project with the UFS Centenary Festival, Student Representative Council and Rag, and includes a huge “Potjiekos” Festival.

This closing function is, however, the beginning of the future festival which reaches its climax from 4–6 February 2005. During the weekend, an SRC Reunion will be held to which all ex-SRC members are personally invited.

The weekend program briefly includes the following:

Friday, 4 February 2004

09:00 Official opening of the University with a message by the Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof Frederick Fourie

11:00 A massive campus photo of all on campus

19:00 Through the night together with Rag.

Saturday, 5 February 2004

08:30 Champagne breakfast at the Thakaneng Bridge

10:00 Official attendance of the Rag Procession

19:00 SRC Dinner at the Centenary Festival Complex

Sunday, 6 February 2005

18:30 A special combined Dedication service at the Red Square (Rooiplein).

It will be a great privilege for the UFS to welcome all SRC members of the past 100 years. RSVP no later than 14 January 2005 to Nicolaas du Plessis. The costs will be indicated on the RSVP form.

N.B.: The UFS would be pleased to reach all ex-members. Should you be in contact with any other members, please send this information to them or contact me at the necessary contact numbers. For more information please contact me at 084 955 0875 or Elize Rall at 051-401 3382.

Nicolaas du Plessis

SRC Officer

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