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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

International organised crime expert speaks at our university
2011-07-25

 

Prof. Johann Henning, Dean of our Faculty of Law and Prof. Barry Rider.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

Prof. Barry Rider, respected amongst others for the vital role he is playing in the struggle to combat money laundering and organised and economic crime delivered a lecture, Stewardship in Islamic Financial Law, at our university as part of the Faculty of Law’s Prestige Series of seminars.

He has taught mainly at Cambridge and London Universities and has delivered a valuable contribution as an academic in various fields of law. He has read papers and taught at more than 300 universities and conferences in more than 63 countries. He has also authored more than 35 legal handbooks and has made a substantial contribution to several more specialist publications. He is editor of, amongst others, The Company Lawyer, the International and Comparative Corporate Law Journal and the Journal of Financial Crime. His main areas of research are in financial law and the control of economic crime.
 
Prof. Rider has a relationship of more than twenty years with our university. In this time, he received the Doctor Legum (honoris causa) for his involvement with the drafting of money laundering and insider trading legislation. The university has also appointed him as Professor Honorarius in the Faculty of Law (only the second in its more than hundred-year history) for his vast and pivotal role in international law reform as an academic law reformer.
 
As part of his appointment as Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Law, Prof. Rider often delivers lectures in the faculty. During his recent visit, Prof. Rider’s lecture on Islamic Financial Law shed light on the importance of this topic in today’s economy, as money generated from Islamic businesses make up $750 billion to $trillion of the world’s economy. After 9/11, the West wanted to understand more about Islamic Financial Law.
 
The Islamic Financial Law system is determined by the Koran. For instance, Muslim business people cannot allow any payment of interest, as it is forbidden by the Koran.
 
Prof. Rider’s lecture on this very relevant topic was very insightful. As consultant to the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) he spoke with authority on the topic. He is the only British academic lawyer assisting this body.
 
Prof. Rider currently serves in an advisory capacity at the international law firm Bryan Cave LLP. Apart from the IFSB, he is also consultant to the Asian Development Bank.

 

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