J AGAR1, K BARRACLOUGH2
1Renal Unit, University Hospital Geelong, Geelong, Australia, 2Renal Unit, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Australia
Background: As governments, health departments, hospitals, and individual practitioners have come to acknowledge the threat(s) of climate change to clean and ample water, and as environmentally sustainable power generation and waste disposal have gained prominence in global media reports, the ‘green’ dialysis’ concept– or, more broadly, ‘green nephrology’ – has gained significant impetus in ANZ nephrology. Recent problems with plastic recycling and disposal have triggered a particular urgency for change. As it is better to lead than follow, the ANZSN, RSA, and KHA have convened a tri-partite group, the Green Nephrology Action Team (GNAT), to drive interest and research into environmental sustainability across the renal spectrum.
Method: In 2015, expressions of interest were sought from environmental sustainability-passionate clinicians, nurses, administrators, and consumers in ANZ. This resulted in the formation of the GNAT steering group.
Results: ‘Green’ research ideas have been developed and are available on the ANZSN website. Environmental research prizes have been funded for both the ANZSN and RSA annual meetings. An environmental symposium and workshop are being held at the 2018 ANZSN and RSA annual meetings, respectively. A draft website – improving, updating, and expanding the existing Barwon Health www.greendialysis.org website – is near completion. Social media platforms for posting/discussing ideas for renal environmental sustainability have been established.
Discussion: Recognising the fragility of our planet, healthcare practices must rapidly gain a more sustainable footing. GNAT seeks to encourage the ANZ nephrology community to adopt resource conservation measures and environmental sensitivities, and to show other healthcare sectors how to do the same.
Conclusion: As specialty-wide involvement is essential, GNAT encourages all to participate, and for young researchers, especially, to consider projects in this area.
John Agar is Conjoint Professor of Medicine and Consultant Nephrologist at Deakin University School of Medicine and University Hospital Geelong. In addition to his commitment to grow and improve home dialysis therapies – in particular, home nocturnal haemodialysis – he has been a long-time advocate for improved resource management, better environmental practices, and a lesser carbon footprint in dialysis through the use of recycled/re-used reject water and the augmentation of dialysis power demands from power renewables. His ultimate dream is to complete the water-power-waste eco-loop trio by finding better ways to manage the mountainous waste generation of dialysis.