Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2017 2018 2019 2020
Previous Archive
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

Meet our Council: Kgotso Schoeman - I’m not afraid of challenges
2016-04-21

Description: Kgotso Schoeman  Tags: Kgotso Schoeman

Mr Kgotso Schoeman
Photo: Stephen Collett

It’s not often that someone is asked a favour by the MEC of Education. However, when it does happen, it is a sign that he has full confidence in you and your abilities. This is exactly what happened to Mr Kgotso Schoeman, one of the Council members of the University of the Free State (UFS).

Mr Schoeman, who was approached by the MEC of Education in the Free State, Mr Tate Makgoe, to serve on the UFS Council, has been involved with the Kagiso Trust for the past 20 years, and now serves as the CEO of Kagiso Capital. The Kagiso Trust was established in May 1985 by anti-apartheid activists, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dr Beyers Naudé, and Prof Jakes Gerwel, in order to channel funds for the promotion of the struggle against apartheid, and for the upliftment and empowerment of communities. Today, education plays a leading role in the activities of the trust.

Mr Schoeman is now serving his second term on the UFS Council.  At the start of his term, he expressed a particular interest in learning more about the inner workings of universities, and the UFS in particular.  He believes the past two years, have been very informative in this regard.

"I have been very impressed with the academic performance of the UFS, and I have learned a lot about university governance and management during this time.  I do think, however, that there is a lot of room for improvement with regard to transformation at the UFS, especially at academic staff level," he says.

One of the issues that he has become aware of over the past two years, and which concerns him greatly, is the relationship between higher education institutions and the Department of Higher Education and Training.  It relates to another matter of concern: how higher education should be funded in South Africa.

"These are issues I raise at every Council meeting, because I feel these points are important not only for the future of the UFS, but for all higher education institutions in the country," he says.

When it comes to hobbies, Mr Schoeman loves reading. However, it is not fiction that interests him, but rather books on leadership and the changes experienced by today’s society. “In one of the educational programmes we offer, there are opportunities for people to discuss complicated topics, such as transformation. I find it fascinating to see how people can change their point of view in the course of these discussions.”

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept