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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

The influence of load shedding on the evening timetable
2008-01-31

The load shedding that is being applied at present also has a certain influence on especially the evening module and venue timetable. As part of the contingency planning of the UFS, an alternative module and venue timetable has been compiled so that classes that cannot take place during evenings in the week as a result of load shedding can be accommodated on Fridays and Saturdays.

After consultation with students, lecturers will decide whether the alternative timetable will apply when load shedding does indeed occur or whether the alternative timetable will be a permanent arrangement.

The alternative evening module and venue timetable are as follows:

Classes that are presented in the timeslot 18:10 to 21:00 on Thursdays are alternatively accommodated in the same venues at the same times on a Friday. Double or more periods that commence at 17:00, but continue into the period of load shedding are also included in this alternative arrangement.

It is important to note that lecturers who present double periods that start at 14:10 and continue into the period of load shedding must make ad hoc arrangements should they wish to have their periods also included in the alternative timetable.

Classes that take place in the timeslot 20:10 to 22:00 on Wednesdays are alternatively accommodated in the timeslot 08:10 to 12:00 on Saturdays, in a few cases in different venues from those scheduled initially. Double or more periods that start at 18:10, but continue into the period of load shedding are also included in this alternative arrangement.

The venue changes for Wednesday periods that are accommodated on Saturdays are as follows:

  • BLG114 Practical 1 English (A) in the Biology Building 28 from 08:10 to 11:00
     
  • STK114 Practical 1 Afrikaans (D) in West Block 201 from 09:10 to 11:00
     
  • STK114 Practical 1 English (D) in West Block 202 from 09:10 to 11:00
     
  • ALM108 Lecture 1 English (G) in FGG169 from 09:10 to 11:00
     
  • EKN314 Lecture 2 English (A) in the Rindl Hall from 09:10 to 11:00
     
  • EFA112 Lecture 2 Afrikaans (A) in FGG377 from 10:10 to 11:00
     
  • EFK112 Lecture 2 Afrikaans (A) in FGG183 from 10:10 to 11:00
     
  • DLS112 Lecture 2 English (A) in FGG184 from 10:10 to 11:00
     
  • ALC108 Lecture 2 English (E) in the South Block 1 from 10:10 to 11:00
     
  • DLS112 Lecture 2 Afrikaans (A) in the FGG377 from 11:10 to 12:00
     
  • EFA112 Lecture 2 English (A) in FGG183 from 11:10 to 12:00
     
  • EFK112 Lecture 2 English (A) in FGG184 from 11:10 to 12:00
     
  • ELF112 Lecture 2 English (A) in FGG169 from 11:10 to 12:00
     
  • EKN214 Lecture 3 English (A) in Stabilis 4 from 11:10 to 12:00

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