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|Highly Commended Leadership for Sustainability, Australia|
|Keynote: J Pollut Eff Cont|
|School children in Australia face a very hot future. Temperatures are increasing and so does the incidents of hospital admissions and increased heat stress deaths. There is strong empirical evidence indicating that climate change poses significant immediate and long term risks to the health of Australians. Deaths associated with heat stress are now higher than deaths associated with natural disasters. The current paradigm with children attending schools in Australia is they have access to bubblers. Extreme climatic events pose challenges to each municipality and some schools are responsible for harvesting their own water. Hygiene issues will continue to escalate with up facing spigots prone to microbial growth and exposure to heat. Bottled water is for sale in most schools at an unregulated price and housed in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and purchased through the school canteen. This limits the dynamic physiological needs arising in children particularly in heat wave conditions. Water for schools proposes to introduce a small annual affordable levy to ensure that all school children have access to safe chilled, filtered water via the installation of a system that UV purifies and safeguards water against water borne diseases, example, hepatitis, Salmonella and E. coli. Climate change is likely to affect several other important causes of gastroenteritis in similar ways as Salmonella. Water for schools increases the power of everyone to meet their dynamic needs for water. Water for schools works collaboratively with key stake holders and returns a portion of the levy back to parents and citizens associations to offset the loss of income. Water for schools is consistent with Australian Federal Government policy. Water for Schools is a transferrable model and operates as a legal entity.|
Elizabeth Beaumont is a retired Transplant Nurse and Wildlife Advocate, and is the Founder of Water for Schools. In 2015, she has received a High Commendation from the Premier of Queensland for campaigning successfully an academic institution to ban the sale of water housed in polyethylene terephthalate. She actively volunteers for Surfrider Foundation, Clean Up Australia Day and has appeared on radio within her community and internationally to raise awareness about plastic pollution.
Email: [email protected]
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