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

Beauty personified through written word
2016-07-29

Description: Zubeida Jaffer Tags: Zubeida Jaffer

Dr Thozama April, University of Fort Hare
historian, Zubeida Jaffer, current Writer-in-Residence
in the Department of Communication Sciences
at the UFS and author of Beauty of the Heart:
The life and times of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke
and Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector
of the UFS at the book launch of Zubeida Jaffer.
Photo: Rulanzen Martin

“It is quite easy to write a book in a professional capacity but very difficult to write a book from the heart.”

These were the words of Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State (UFS), at the launch of Beauty of the Heart: The life and times of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke by Zubeida Jaffer, the current Writer-in-Residence in the Department of Communication Sciences at the UFS.

Perseverance and dedication yields results

Writing a book from the heart is exactly what Jaffer, an award-winning South African journalist and author, set out to do. “When you make the choice to write a story, you need to be very dedicated,” she said.

As this is Jaffer’s third book, one would think that she would have no difficulty in putting pen to paper. On the contrary, she mentioned that it was, in fact, the hardest book she has written because the narrative was not easy to get hold of.

“I wanted Charlotte’s voice to come through, and it took my team and I three years of research and writing,” she said.

Maxeke’s story helps to shape South African society

The three-person panel, hosted by the UFS Sasol Library and SUN MeDIA, and chaired by Prof Jansen, included Jaffer and Dr Thozama April, University of Fort Hare historian who had done her PHD thesis on Maxeke.

Dr April said that Maxeke’s life story is an inspiring one, as it encourages a rethinking of established narratives. “These established narratives have made it possible for historians and researchers to write about the shaping of South African society,” she said.

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