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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

Academic addresses financial planning leaders at world summit
2010-05-04

Adv. Wessel Oosthuizen, Director of the Centre for Financial Planning Law at the University of the Free State (UFS), addressing financial leaders at the World Financial Planning Summit.


Adv. Wessel Oosthuizen, Director of the Centre for Financial Planning Law at the University of the Free State (UFS), is chair to four Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB) expert panels that guide the global Certified Financial Planning (CFP) certification programme. At the recent World Financial Planning Summit, held in Taipei in China, he challenged a group of global financial planning leaders to support the formation of a global financial planning body of knowledge with sustainable career-path development opportunities.

He said: “For financial planning to be recognised as a distinct professional practice and a global profession, the financial planning community must establish a universal body of knowledge that is supported by applicable in-depth research.

“We need to establish how professional bodies should collaborate with academia to integrate a more competency-based education and training environment that combines theory with practice. Fostering and promoting comprehensive research in financial planning topics is another key challenge that must be addressed in order to develop a tertiary knowledge framework for the financial planning profession.”

Adv. Oosthuizen, who is playing a big role in providing consistent and rigorous education and assessment tools for financial planning in 2010, said that a bachelor’s degree should be a compulsory minimum requirement for practising financial planners.

About the learning curve between the academic and work environments in the financial planning profession, Adv. Oosthuizen said: “Implementing a career-path model that supports a more structured approach to apprenticeships and supervised practice would complement a specialised financial planning body of knowledge and provide entrants to the profession with the necessary theoretical knowledge and practical experience to offer competent and ethical financial planning.”

The World Financial Planning Summit engaged global leaders of more than 17 financial planning standards-setting bodies, as well as regulators, financial planning educators and other invited guests in a dialogue about the steps needed to gain recognition for financial planning as a distinct, global profession.
 

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