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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

UFS academics work on text book about legal requirements for cultural institutions
2010-11-09

Prof. Johan Henning, Dean of the Faculty of Law, UFS; Prof. Loot Pretorius, also from the Faculty of Law; and Mr Tokkie Pretorius, Director of the War Museum in Bloemfontein.

A team consisting of Prof. Johan Henning, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State (UFS), Prof. Loot Pretorius, also from the Faculty of Law, and Mr Tokkie Pretorius, Director of the War Museum, is going to tackle a project which will focus on the new legal requirements for cultural institutions, with special reference to national museums.

Previously this team has written a textbook on the legal position of development corporations, which is regarded as a standard work about this topic.

Museum managers often come from the expert conservation and research environment and find it difficult to comply with the new legal requirements pertaining to national museums.

National museums, amongst which counts the War Museum of the Boer Republics, are classified by the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) no. 1 of 1999 as Public Entities.

This Act also states specific accounting requirements regarding the accounting standards, year-end statements and the auditing process on the one hand, but on the other hand specific requirement with regard to corporate management.

The King II Report and it most recent extension, King III, sets specific guidelines to be followed in the managerial process and specifically emphasises the role and responsibilities of non-executive boards of directors (board members) and those of the executive director (chief executive officer). The Cultural Institutions Act, no. 119 of 1998, regulates the operation of national museums, amongst others the constitution and functions of the boards of national museums. Various other forms of legislation also apply to national museums.

According to Prof. Pretorius they aim to publish the book within the next 18 months.
 

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