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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

Interpreting implemented at UFS residences
2007-10-12

The University of the Free State (UFS) has begun to implement interpreting services at student residence meetings on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein, as part of the management of diversity and the racial integration of its residences.

As a pilot project, the interpreting services are being offered since the third term at Emily Hobhouse and Roosmaryn ladies residences, where a significant racial diversity already is present. From next year this service will be extended to all the student residences on the Main Campus.

The interpreting project is being managed by the Department of Afro-asiatic Studies, Sign Language and Language Practice at the UFS.

“Students in training at the Department of Afro-asiatic Studies, Sign Language and Language Practice and senior interpreters from the UFS are currently interpreting during residence meetings,” said Prof. Jackie Naudé, Departmental Chairperson of the UFS’s Department of Afro-asiatic Studies, Sign Language and Language Practice.

“Students in these residences are given the opportunity to be trained to interpret during their residence meetings. Four students from each hostel are being trained as interpreters,” said Prof. Naudé.

According to Prof. Naudé both residences have meetings that take place on a Monday evening at 22:00. Interpreting is also provided at the first-year students’ meetings at Emily Hobhouse on Tuesday evenings.

The interpreters experience the interpreting at the residences as positively and they experience that students often do utilise this service. At Roosmaryn 16-18 students are utilising the interpreting service, while at Emily Hobhouse approximately 18 students are utilising the service.

“The interpreting service definitely contributes to the enhancement of communication during residence meetings. Students can exactly follow what is happening during the meetings. In the past a residences like Emily Hobhouse tried to repeat everything in English, which extended the meetings,” Prof. Naudé said.

With the envisaged extension of interpreting services in hostel meetings to all the hostels on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein, there is a need for interpreters as these meetings will take place simultaneously. Through this initiative, exiting new opportunities are created for aspiring interpreters. The training takes place under leadership of Prof. Annelie Lotriet who holds the ATKV Chair in Interpreting in the department.

Aspiring candidates can contact Mr Cobus Snyman, Manager of the UFS’s interpreting projects at 051 401 9005 in connection with the selection criteria for interpreters.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za
14 October 2007
 

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