Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australian Medical Association urges fixing the uranium-polluted water supplies to remote communities

Filtering out heavy metals years away, despite high uranium detected in water, ABC News , By Bridget BrennanIsabella Higgins and Stephanie Zillman, -20 June 18

The Northern Territory Government has downplayed concern following the ABC’s revelation that drinking water has been high in uranium in three Aboriginal communities for a decade — even as the Power and Water Corporation said a plan to filter heavy metals was still years away.

Key points:

  • Earlier this week ABC revealed at least three Central Australian communities have uranium levels in drinking water that exceed health guidelines
  • The NT Health Minister has now responded, saying the NT Health Department and Power and Water were working together on the issue
  • But medical professionals said the situation was “unacceptable”

The response came as the Australian Medical Association urged the water supplies be fixed, with Aboriginal health organisations describing the situation as “unacceptable”.

On Tuesday, ABC’s 7.30 revealed the central desert communities of Laramba, Wilora and Willowra supplied bore water with elevated levels of uranium.

Data from the Power and Water Corporation showed Laramba’s water supply contained uranium at higher than 0.04 milligrams per litre (mg/L).

Australian Drinking Water Guidelines outline those levels should not exceed 0.017 mg/L — and the corporation agreed that several communities are drinking water above the national guidelines.

Yet the Power and Water Corporation said a plan to filter out elevated levels of heavy metals like uranium from drinking water in some Central Australian communities is still years away……….

Doctors said fixing the supply should be a priority.

“Contaminants which do make the drinking water unsafe to drink above the guidelines as stipulated, should be treated as a health priority,” AMA president Dr Tony Bartone said.

“All governments — of either jurisdiction — need to ensure that all Australians have access to potable drinking water.”

Dr Bartone said the AMA wanted safe drinking water levels to be part of the Closing the Gap targets, which are currently undergoing a review after 10 years of limited progress.

“Access to safe drinking water is a prerequisite for good health,” he said.

“You can’t really set aspirational targets for health without really pinning the strategy to the building blocks around good health — the social determinants of health.”

John Paterson, chief executive of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory, said an independent review was needed “as soon as possible”.

“Governments need to respond to this, we need the experts out there to explain how much contamination is in the water and what solutions have been provided,” he said.

Rod Little, co-chair of National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, said he was shocked to hear of uranium levels not meeting health guidelines in Aboriginal communities. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-20/high-uranium-detected-in-central-australian-bore-water/9891522

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June 22, 2018 - Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, uranium

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