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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

Faculty of Law establishes a Centre for Labour Law
2009-12-02

Here at a recent certificate ceremony for the students in Labour Law are Prof. Voet du Plessis, Ms Kotie Prinsloo (middle) from Netcare who received the Certificate in Labour Law with a distinction and Ms Alet Ellis from the Department of Private Law at the UFS.
Photo: Stephen Collett

 The establishment of a Centre for Labour Law in the Faculty of Law was recently officially approved by the Council of the University of the Free State (UFS).

This centre aims to promote teaching and research in labour law at the UFS and to nationally and internationally establish collaboration with centres and institutes of labour law.

The first certificate course in Labour Law was presented in 2001 when a need was identified from persons who not necessary qualified for a LLB. An advanced course in Labour Law followed in 2004 and a postgraduate diploma in Labour Law followed in 2007. Since 2001, a total of 1 400 certificates have been awarded to students who successfully completed the certificate course and the advanced course in Labour Law.

“Where Labour Law is already to a greater degree functioning independently, the already existing operations will now be formally grouped in a centre,” said Prof. Du Plessis, acting head of the Centre for Labour Law at the UFS.

Apart from the Main Campus, the certificate course is also being presented in Qwaqwa and in Welkom. Distance learning is also provided for.

The official launch of the centre will take place early in next year. The board as well as the advisory panel, existing of experts from outside the university, will also then be appointed.

This centre can also be seen as one of the faculty’s community service arms,” said Prof. Du Plessis. The centre amongst others gives to persons who not have university admission the opportunity to study and to qualify themselves in their work. If a person completed all the certificate courses in Labour Law, he will be able to qualify for the postgraduate diploma in Labour Law with the recognition of prior learning process. Since the presentation of the last mentioned course in 2007, approximately 120 students have successfully completed this course.

“I am thankful that we are at this point where the Centre for Labour Law is officially approved. It is a great milestone for the Department of Mercantile Law as well as the Faculty of Law at the UFS,” said Prof. Du Plessis.
 

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
2 December 2009

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