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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

Fasset continues to fuel academic excellence at the UFS
2017-12-15


  Description: Fasset  read more Tags: Fasset, Accounting, INTRABAS, Finance, South African Institute of Chartered Accountants

  Programme Director: School of Accounting, Prof Hentie van Wyk, and
  Dean: Economic and Management Sciences, Prof Hendri Kroukamp
  excited about the unveiling of the Finance and Accounting Services
  Sector Education and Training Authority (Fasset)
  plaque at the School of Accounting.
  Photo: Rulanzen Martin

The School of Accounting on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) held an unveiling ceremony for a Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Fasset) plaque. The plaque was unveiled by UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, and Fasset CEO, Lesego Lebuso. This was in honour of Fasset’s partnership with the UFS and its contribution towards driving academic excellence through its Intrabas projects over the past few years.
 
Funding for teaching and learning initiatives
These projects support the development of black student enrolment and performance in Accounting Studies. During the previous year, Fasset gave the UFS R54 million in funding to support teaching and learning initiatives for 960 black Accounting students. These students were enrolled for BAcc, BCom(Acc), BAcc(Hons)/PGDipCA, and BCom(Hons in Acc)/PGDipGA studies. In the same year, a celebratory ceremony was held at the South Campus for 125 Fasset-funded students to celebrate their academic excellence.
 
 Prof Hentie van Wyk, Programme Director: School of Accounting, said, “FASSET funding will give the Centre for Accounting (as it was then called) an opportunity to strengthen our current student-centred teaching model”. This seemed like a prophecy, because at the beginning of 2017, the class of 2016 BAccHons students achieved a 96% pass rate in the 2017 Initial Test of Competence (ITC) examinations of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).

Millions contributed towards accounting degrees
In 2017, Fasset sponsored 114 students on the Bloemfontein Campus with full bursaries amounting to more than R20 million through the Intrabas bursary fund for degree qualifications in BAccHons, BComHons (Acc), BAcc, BComAcc and BComAcc Extended programmes, as well as the tutorial programme managed by the School of Accountancy. On the Qwaqwa Campus, Fasset has given more than R7 million worth of funding.
 
James Veitch, Senior Officer: School of Accounting, said, “A decision was made to rather fund less students so that they could be assisted with greater effect, and students who did not qualify for the bursaries, would still be assisted through the support programme.”

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