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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 Music rises to academic prominence
2007-10-18

 

From the left are: Ronella Jansen van Rensburg, Hanna van Schalkwyk, Elene Coetzer en Lizabé Lambrechts

Four postgraduate students gave prominence to the Music Department of the University of the Free State by having four academic articles published by accredited journals, and a fifth published in an international online journal.

It is the first time that a tertiary music institution in South Africa has had so many postgraduate studies published in one year, says Prof Martina Viljoen.

The students who worked under Prof Viljoen's supervision are Hanna van Schalkwyk, senior lecturer in singing at UFS; Ronella Jansen van Rensburg, part-time music lecturer and founder of the Sentraal-Kultuurakademie (Central Culture Academy); Elene Coetzer, also a part-time lecturer and involved in the Mangaung String Project; and Lizabé Lambrechts, who is still studying full-time.

Hanna and Ronella attained their master's degrees and Lizabé honours.

Hanna's research on the unique and at times unorthodox philosophy in singing and method of the pedagogue in singing Sarie Lamprecht (1923-2005) is published in the Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe (Journal for the Humanities).

The study documents interviews held with Lamprecht over more than two years as well as conversations with her most prominent students.

Ronella's study on the relationship between emotional intelligence and musical performance anxiety is divided into two successive articles in the journal Musicus.

Dr Adelene Grobler, Epog director at UFS, was Ronella's co-supervisor.

Elene conducted a qualitative investigation into the Mangaung String Programme in which the social value of this teaching programme is emphasised.

She documented the responses of learners, parents and teachers who are involved in the project. Her article is published in the Journal of the Musical Arts in Africa.

Lizebé reached out to pop culture for her research and wrote about no less a person than the controversial shock-rock-icon Marilyn Manson.

Her study serves as a model analysis for educational work that focuses on popular culture as a didactic instrument.

In this respect Manson's music, which is frequently slated as vulgar or disturbing, is shown as aggressive social comment.

Lizabé's article, which throws light on Manson's bisexual identity, was published as a full-length monograph in the first edition of the overseas online noncejournal.

In 2005 the Department of Music also excelled when it was the first academic music institution in South Africa that published international congress proceedings as a subsidised collection.

The collection contained eminent international authors and was published under the guest editorship of Viljoen.

Die Volksblad – 1.10.07

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