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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

B. Iur. programme in Occupational Risk Law first of its kind in the country
2010-11-26

The University of the Free State (UFS) will offer a B.Iur. degree programme in Occupational Risk Law from 2011.

This programme of the Faculty of Law is the first of its kind to be offered in South Africa and positions the UFS in the forefront of this field of study.

The programme is designed to develop and qualify professionals, knowledgeable in the field of occupational risk law as prescribed by South African legislation and international best practices. It further offers a qualification based on a well-researched basis of applicable legal principles, combined with safety, health, environmental and quality risk management principles applicable to employers and employees in a specialised industry.

The B.Iur. (Occupational Risk Law) has been developed by experts within the parameters of international comparability, according to research-based identification of career demands and requirements in the fields mentioned.

By introducing this programmesignificant progress will be made towards achieving the nationally stated objective of legal safety, health and environmental quality assurance in the workplace and within the broader community. The programme will also encompass the values and standards prescribed by the Institute of Safety Managers. This will provide them with a further step towards the regulation of the professional en ethical standards in the field of legal safety, health and environmental quality assurance.

With the programme, the UFS not only creates a unique opportunity for stakeholders and learners to add meaningful value to their careers, but also exerts a meaningful influence on the industry and society in terms of the acquisition of a most appropriate type of qualification. The B.Iur. (Occupational Risk Law)degree therefore offers a meaningful contribution towards the industry through addressing the increasing demand for career opportunities in the field of legal safety, health and environmental quality compliance.

The new programme is the result of an agreement between the faculty and its partner, IRCA Global. The university officially launched its partnership with IRCA Global, an international supplier of risk management solutions pertaining to safety, health, the environment and quality in 2008. As part of the agreement, the UFS will offer short learning programme, a diploma and a degree in Risk Management.

IRCA Global is a South African company in the international risk control and SHEQ environments with filials in Africa, Australia, India, Eastern Europe, and South America.

In the interim IRCA Global has continued with the marketing of the programme, with the result that hundreds of potential students are waiting for the launching of the programme. The faculty is geared towards offering the programme in e-learning. New modules will also be offered with the help of IRCA’s trained and skilled facilitators. The faculty also utilises the partnerships entered into with IRCA to appoint practising specialists as part-time lecturers for the occupational risk law component of the programme as well as to develop a new specialist component amongst the permanent staff.

The programme is already active and students can register for the first semester 2011 (study code 3324, programme code M3000). Direct your enquiries to Cora-Mari de Vos at 051 401 3532 or devosc@ufs.ac.za.

The programme consists of fundamental modules of the LL.B. and B.Iur., as well as short learning programmes in the Faculty of Law and specially developed core modules in occupational risk law. The B.Iur.in Occupational Risk Law enables successful candidates to enrol for applicable Post Graduate Diplomas or a cognate Honours Degree. Obtaining one of these qualifications provides the platform to articulate to Magister degrees. Horizontal articulation possibilities exist with the accredited Baccalaureus of Law (LL.B.) which is presented by several institutions in the country.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication (actg)
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl@ufs.ac.za
26 November 2010

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