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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

#FaceOfFacebook 2016/2017
2016-04-29

Kovsies #FaceOfFacebook was initiated from the need to communicate with students, thus becoming a virtual friend. Annual auditions are held to choose the new face representing the UFS on Facebook. The successful candidate holds the title of #FaceOfFacebook for the next 12 months, attending events, and filming short video clips to post on our Facebook page. In effect, the #FaceOfFacebook is not only an important spokesperson, but a proud Kovsie ambassador as well. At the end of their reign, they receive a recommendation letter and portfolio of their work.

 

Here are our top five contestants (in no particular order):

  • Jet'aime Pond

  • Tshwaro Thothela

  • Mbulelo Siyoko

  • Ingrid Wentzel

  • Reuben Davids

 

The next phase of our #FaceOfFacebook auditions involves you. In the words of one of our contestants: "I need your vote ... Like this post, share and go tell your friends about it."

 

Go to the UFS Facebook page to view the videos of our Top Five contestants, and like your favourite. Each like will count as a vote, and the person with the most votes at the closing time will be declared the winner. You will need to be a registered Facebook user to vote.

 

The deadline for voting is 6 May 2016 at 16:00.

 

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