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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

Curriculum of UFS School of Management best in South Africa
2010-09-17

 Prof. Helena van Zyl

The School of Management at the University of the Free State (UFS)’s curriculum has been rated in the September 2010 edition of the Financial Mail as the best in South Africa for the second successive year. According to Prof. Helena van Zyl, Director of the School of Management, this rating was done by the school’s MBA students and alumni after the Financial Mail had used an independent company to do a survey about business schools in South Africa.

Apart from its curriculum, from the group of 14 accredited business schools in South Africa, the UFS’s School of Management was also rated by its students and alumni as one of the top three schools in terms of the quality of its lecturers (first position), the degree to which the students enjoyed the course (third position) and the value for money that the school offers (third position).

“This positive rating means that we have clients that are really satisfied with our service, and that is important to us. Our students and alumni feel that we add value, that we empower them, and that we open worlds for them,” said Prof. Van Zyl.

“In this environment where business schools are very competitive, it is an important message to send out that students and alumni are satisfied. It influences prospective MBA students’ choice of a future institution where they would want to study.

“The fact that the UFS’s School of Management has received such a good evaluation, even though we are situated in the centre of South Africa and not in a commercial hub like Johannesburg or Pretoria, is a great privilege for us. Also, if the quality of the programme is taken into account, our MBA programme is very affordable and really offers value for money,” said Prof. Van Zyl.

The School of Management, which is the flagship of the Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences at the UFS, affords this faculty a specific position in corporate South Africa.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
17 September 2010
 

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