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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 awards degrees and diplomas during Spring graduation ceremony
2007-09-12

On 12 and 13 September 2007 the University of the Free State (UFS) will award 626 degrees and diplomas to students from the Main and Vista campuses during the spring graduation ceremony.

Altogether 464 degrees, 134 diplomas and 28 doctorates will be awarded. The diploma ceremony for all faculties will take place on Wednesday 12 September 2007 at 14:30 and the graduation ceremonies will take place on Thursday 13 September 2007 at 08:30 and 14:30.

On Thursday 13 September 2007 at 08:30, 128 degrees and 1 doctorate will be awarded in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences and 110 degrees and 12 doctorates will be awarded in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.

At 14:30 that same day 82 degrees and 2 doctorates will be awarded in the Faculty of Health Sciences, 30 degrees and 2 doctorates in the Faculty of Law and 7 degrees and 4 doctorates in the Faculty of Theology.

Both ceremonies will be held in the Callie Human Centre on the Main Campus.

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   
5 September 2007
 

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