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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

OSM students off to Canada and Belgium
2016-07-01

Description: 001 OSM Naledi Lux Tags: 001 OSM Naledi Lux
Naledi Dweba will have the opportunity to
take part in tutorials such as reed making
and instrument adjusting when attending
the Belgian Clarinet Academy.

Photo: Supplied

Although he is only a first-year student at the Odeion School of Music (OSM), he will learn from, and share his knowledge with, the best in the world. Tuhafeni Michael from the University of the Free State has been selected for an international choral music residency at the Kokopelli Choir Association in Edmonton, Canada during June-July 2016.

Michael and Naledi Dweba are two OSM students that will enhance their skills abroad. Dweba, one of Danré Strydom’s clarinet students, has received a scholarship to attend the 2016 Belgian Clarinet Academy in Ostend, Belgium from 6-12 July.

Guest speaker at celebrations


Apart from receiving extensive training as choral conductor, Michael will also serve as a guest speaker during the Kokopelli Choir Association 20th anniversary. He will teach choral music from his native Namibia.

After the residency, he is expected to serve as an ambassador for the Kokopelli Foundation in Southern Africa. Apart from sharing his skills, he will also assist in recruiting new talented students, and act as mentor to other aspiring choral conductors.

“I’m hoping to really learn from some of the best choral conductors of our times, as well as from fellow students attending the course,” says Michael.

Masterclasses in rest of Europe


Dweba’s scholarship provides a week-long, intensive immersion in clarinet. Individual students receive at least 3 intensive private lessons, and participate in clarinet ensembles, receive chamber music coaching, observe and perform in masterclasses. The main instructors of the event will be Robert Spring (Arizona State University), Eddy Vanoosthuyse (Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra), and Deborah Bish (Florida State University).

After the scholarship, he will attend masterclasses in Germany and the United Kingdom.


 

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