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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 gets more than R3 Million for HIV/Aids activities
2007-12-13

 

In the picture are some of the members of the project team. From the left are: Mr Pieter du Plessis (Finances), Ms Estelle Heideman (HIV/Aids Co-ordinator: Lengau Agri Development Centre) and Rev Jaftha.
 

UFS gets more than R3 Million for HIV/Aids activities

The Chief Directorate: Community Service at the University of the Free State (UFS) has received more than R3 million to intensify activities regarding HIV/AIDS at all UFS campuses for the next seventeen months.

Higher Education HIV/AIDS Programme (HEAIDS) contributed R3 127 207 and the UFS R615 116 towards this initiative. The money will be used to implement intervention strategies from 1 January 2008 to 31 May 2009.

“The mandate poses an extensive challenge and puts pressure on the institution, but at the same time creates some incredible opportunities for intervention,” said the Chief Director of Community Service and Project Co-ordinator, Rev. Kiepie Jaftha.

HEAIDS is a nationally co-ordinated initiative to develop and strengthen the capacity of South African higher education institutions to respond to the causes, challenges and consequences of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the sector. It is an initiative of the Department of Education and the implementing agency is Higher Education South Africa (HESA), an organisation representing vice-chancellors of tertiary institutions in South Africa.

The proposed areas and actions of intervention are categorised into three main components, namely:

- Prevention, treatment, care and support aimed at both students and staff on all UFS campuses.
Incorporation of HIV/AIDS issues into the teaching offerings of the UFS and the development of a formal policy in this regard.

- Implementation of an integrated management information system to empower stakeholders to make decisions and adapt actions by visualising facts, actions and progress on the overall HIV/AIDS programme.

The UFS met all the requirements of HEAIDS to qualify for this funding. A five-member team was formed to come up with a document entitled The Quest for an AIDS Competent Society that met the required standards.

“Each institution of higher learning had to identify and establish a project team, appoint a project leader, assign responsibilities to members of the team with different expertise, analyse the needs of the institution, and define and agree on projects in order to access the grant,” said Rev. Jaftha.

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

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