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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

Financial planners graduate

Adv. Wessel Oosthuizen, Director of the CFPL, and Gerhard Meyer, Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa.
Photo: Stephen Collett

At this year’s graduation ceremony, the Centre for Financial Planning Law (CFPL) at our university awarded 377 diplomas (305 to students in the Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning, and 72 to students in the Advanced Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning).

Three students in the Advanced Postgraduate Diploma passed the diploma with distinction. They are David Grant, Stephen Grizic and Yashika Rambujan. Ruan Schroder, Daniel Venter and Adri Viljoen passed the Postgraduate Diploma with distinction. Adri Viljoen is also the overall top student in the Postgraduate Diploma, while David Grant is the overall top student in the Advanced Postgraduate Diploma.
During another highlight at this event, Adv. Wessel Oosthuizen, Director of the UFS’s CFPL, was awarded the Chairman's Award for outstanding lifetime contribution to the Financial Planning Industry. This award is made by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa to a person who has made a significant and extraordinary contribution to the financial planning industry. As this is only the second year that the award is being made, it is an exceptional honour.
For five years, the UFS was the only institution to offer a full qualification in order to become a Certified Financial Planning Professional. The university is still the largest institution in this regard. The Centre for Financial Planning Law (CFPL) at the UFS is also the only institution in South Africa to offer the Advanced Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning Law, which is a purely specialisation diploma.
To date, the CFPL at our universityhas awarded 3 657 Postgraduate Diplomas and 659 Advanced Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning.

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