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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

Tanya takes over netball reins from big sister
2016-07-04

Description: Tanya Mostert USSA SASPA Tags: Tanya Mostert USSA

Tanya Mostert will lead the University of
the Free State Netball team at the USSA
tournament in Cape Town.

Photo: SASPA

Last year, big sister led the Kovsie team, and now it is the turn of her little sister. Tanya Mostert will be filling the shoes of her big sister, Karla Mostert, when she leads the University of the Free State (UFS) team in the USSA tournament in Cape Town from Monday 4 July 2016.

Karla now helping as defence coach

Karla was captain in Johannesburg in 2015 when the UFS lost against Tuks in the USSA final by 39-48. The star of the Proteas is too old to play for the UFS again, and is now helping out as defence coach. Karla and Lauren-Lee Christians, who won’t be playing in the USSA tournament, were included in the South African Universities Netball team that will compete in the World Student Games in Miami, America, from 13 to 17 July 2016.

The Kovsie Netball team is one of seven UFS sports teams competing in USSA tournaments. The others are hockey (men and women), rugby, badminton, basketball, squash, and volleyball.

Mostert sisters are both natural leaders

Like Karla, Tanya is a natural leader. She was captain of the Zwartkop High School team, as well as the Free State U19 and U21 teams. “It is amazing that two children from the same home are both leaders, even if there is naturally a difference in their leadership style,” says Burta de Kock, the Kovsie coach.
“For me as coach, it is also wonderful to know that they (Karla and Maryka Holtzhausen, Protea captain and Kovsie assistant coach) are prepared to plough back at this young age. They are also role models for the other players.”
According to De Kock, she has a strong USSA group and wants the UFS to perform better than in 2015.

The UFS teams taking part in the USSA tournaments from Monday 4 July 2016 are:

  • Netball (Cape Town)
  • Hockey (men and women, Johannesburg)
  • Rugby (East London)
  • Badminton (Stellenbosch)
  • Basketball (Johannesburg)
  • Squash (Stellenbosch)
  • Volleyball (Pretoria)

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