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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

FASSET funding bid secures R54 million for black accounting students
2015-08-28

The Centre for Accounting in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences has made great strides with its INTRABAS projects, which support the development of black student enrolment and performance in Accounting Studies.

Recently, the university won four bids that have secured R54 million in funding from the Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority (FASSET) for 2016.  This funding will  support the teaching and learning initiatives of 960 black accounting students enrolling for the following four accounting programmes: BAcc, BCom(Acc), BAcc(Hons)/PGDipCA and BCom(Hons in Acc)/PGDipGA.The benefit to these students is the envisaged increase in throughput rates by 10% from year- to- year until the Honours year.  This covers tuition fees, text books, and extra tutorials, including autumn, winter and spring boot camps.

“FASSET funding will give the Centre for Accounting an opportunity to strengthen our current student-centered teaching model” said Prof Hentie van Wyk, Programme Director: Training of Accountants at the UFS.

The Centre for Accounting has a “1” accreditation grading from the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), and has achieved an 80% average success rate over the past three years in the Initial Test of Competency (ITC) of SAICA.

Download the application form for FASSET funding or collect one at the Centre for Accounting at the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.  The closing date for applications is 31 October 2015.

For more information, contact Dirkelien de Beer on +27(0)51 401 3688 debeerdb@ufs.ac.za /Prof Hentie van Wyk vanwykha@ufs.ac.za

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