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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

UFS hosts the biggest HIV/AIDS event in its history
2007-10-05

The Chief Directorate: Community Service at the University of the Free State (UFS), in partnership with the Free State Department of Education, will host the biggest HIV/AIDS focus event in the history of the university.

The event will take place on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein and the theme will be: Management of HIV/AIDS in the Workplace.

According to the Chief Director of Community Service at the UFS, the Rev Kiepie Jaftha, this event forms part of a wider role of his directorate to raise the level of awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS within the university and the higher education sector in South Africa. It will also enhance the executive management’s buy-in and ownership of this role and incorporate the flow of HIV/AIDS information and activities into the core business of the UFS.

The focus will be on getting the executive management, middle management, aspiring managers and those who are affected by the decisions of the management, on board in the university’s endeavour to manage and create HIV/AIDS awareness in the workplace.

Most importantly, community members will also form an essential part of this event as the UFS strives to get them also involved in HIV/AIDS education and awareness.

“We hope to release the valve of denialism and stir the excitement amongst people, to encourage them to get involved in creating awareness within their workplaces, institutions and society,” said the Rev Jaftha.


To that effect, the Director of the Africa Centre for HIV/AIDS Management at the University of Stellenbosch, Prof. Jan du Toit, will deliver a keynote address. There will also be a mini-musical production called Lucky, the Hero, directed by the well-known stage performer and director of Educational Theatre and creative arts for the Africa Centre for HIV/AIDS Management, Prof. Jimmie Earl Perry.

The 25 tables for the event have been sold at a cost of R1 500 each and the beneficiaries thereof will be a local non-governmental organization (NGO), namely the Lebone Land Care Centre. The UFS has a long-standing relationship with the Lebone Land Care Centre, where students are sent as part of the implementation of their community service learning modules to enhance their practical skills. Now the university intends to formalise this partnership.

“I admire the holistic manner of approach the Lebone Land Care Centre uses towards caring for people who are infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and the way they make people realise that they can still live a meaningful life and add dignity and value to society,” enthused Rev Jaftha.

The NGO will also receive an award from Spar, one of the biggest supermarket groups in South Africa.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@mail.ufs.ac.za
04 October 2007
 

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