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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 appoints new Vice-Rector
2007-12-04

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) has recently approved the appointment of Prof. Driekie Hay, currently Dean: Academic Development at the Central University of Technology (CUT), as Vice-Rector: Academic Planning at the UFS. Prof. Hay will commence with her duties on 1 January 2008.

Prof. Hay is appointed in the place of Prof. Magda Fourie who accepted a position at the University of Stellenbosch.

Before her appointment at the CUT in March 2004, Prof. Hay was the Director of the UFS Centre for Higher Education Studies and Development (CHESD) for a number of years. She was also involved with the Grow Our Own Timber project of the UFS. She obtained her Ph.D. in 1997 and has a strong research profile.

“Prof. Hay obtained valuable experience in senior management the past four years at the CUT, among others as acting vice-rector. Her understanding of academic planning and her exceptional expertise in staff development and
teaching-learning development makes her a very suitable candidate for the position,” said Prof. Frederick Fourie, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

“She also indicated that she has an exceptional talent for handling diversity and service delivery. She has an understanding of transformation in the context of the UFS and can play an important role in the university’s transformation process,” said Prof. Fourie.

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  
4 December 2007
 

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