BioPower Australia is BioPower Corporation Group's partner in the Australian market, and the primary objective is the introduction of specialised sanitation and renewable energy solutions for the continent:
- Installing Flush-Tech Sanitation Systems at schools, hospitals, estates, shopping centres and other residential developments
- The supply of BioSol SL36 for Wastewater Treatment Works
- Treating substandard sanitation in remote villages with BioSol SL36
- Rehabilitating and treating septic tanks at residential developments
- Improved water conservation methods.
BioPower Australia provides solutions to Wastewater Management in both rural- and urban centres throughout Australia.
The following identified information regarding Australia forms the basis of the focus areas of BioPower Australia:
- As a developed nation, it can be assumed that Australia has the ability to ensure “availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”. But the unpalatable truth is that many Australians still lack access to clean water and effective sanitation.
- The World Bank’s Development Indicators list Australia as having 100% access to clean water and effective sanitation, but according to research by the University of Queensland, published in “The Conversation” in July 2016 some remote Aboriginal communities still struggle to meet Australian water standards.
- Australia Bureau of Statistic data from 2014-15 estimated the total resident population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as 3% (686 800) of the Australian population. 21% of these Indigenous population resides in remote or very remote areas.
- Population data of 2011 calculated that the total population in Australia remote Indigenous communities (including those on Island communities as well as mainland), amounts to 116 588. Majority of these populations were located in the states and territory of the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Queensland, and New South Wales.
- It was also reported the Northern Territory has 72 major and discrete communities with population from 100 to 6000 people. Western Australia has 274, Queensland 40 and New South Wales has 61 discrete remote Indigenous communities.
- High standards of health and well-being are unattainable without safe, clean drinking water, removal of toilet waste from the local environment, and healthy hygiene behaviours.
- The Western Australian government has reported that drinking water in some remote communities is contaminated with uranium, faecal bacteria and nitrates above the recommended levels.
- Mentioned contamination – combined with problems such as irregular washing of faces, hands and bodies (often without soap), and overcrowding in homes – means that residents in these communities suffer from water- and hygiene-related health problems at a higher rate than the general Australian population.
- The health situation in affected communities throws up some sobering facts. Australia is the only developed country that has not eradicated trachoma, a preventable tropical disease that can cause blindness. It persists in remote areas with poor hygiene, where children repeatedly pass on the infection.
- Similarly, glue ear, which is influenced by poor water and hygiene practices and can cause permanent hearing loss and developmental difficulties, is prominent in these communities.
- The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that one in eight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported ear and/or hearing problems in 2012-13. This is significantly more than non-Indigenous people.
- In 2011 there were about 116 000 people living in remote, discrete indigenous communities. The 2016 “Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantages” report identified that health outcome for remote Indigenous communities were compromised by a range of environmental health factors within homes and communities. Water, sanitation and hygiene challenges such as poor water quality, limited access to safely mange water, hygiene status and marginal living conditions, have contributed to these continuing health disparities.
- The report also concluded that drinking water was influenced by adherence to Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, which was more likely in areas where centralised utilities operated across the whole state or territory. However, contamination of drinking water remains a risk where monitoring regimes are not rigorous and consistent. Use of borehole water is also problematic as it contains naturally high levels of microbial and chemical contaminants. E.coli and/or Naegleria microbes were detected in at least one community each month over a two-year monitoring period (OAG 2015). Cryptosporidiosis, was found in remote Indigenous communities, compared to the non-Indigenous urban population in Western Australia. A total of almost 25% of the nearly 3000 notified cases occurred in Australian Indigenous people, although they only contribute 3.8% of the Western Australia population. Other enteric pathogens identified in contaminated water in remote Indigenous communities includes Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, E.coli, and Rotavirus.
- In the Northern Territory, Queensland, and Western Australia, groundwater is the principle source of drinking and household water supply for the majority of discrete remote and very discrete remote communities and therefore high rates of naturally occurring contamination can be included as Western Australia remote communities exceeded Australian Standards for nitrates and uranium.
- The status of sanitation (wastewater treatment) has improved with the increasing installation of centralised wastewater treatment replacing onsite septic tanks. However, concerns remain regarding self-certification of wastewater installations and irregular wastewater output monitoring regimes. In 2015, an audit from Western Australia noted a high number of communities not meeting National Standards, with reported drinking water contamination from sewage-derived E.coli or Naegleria sp. microbes at least once in 68 communities in the two-year period of reporting (AG WA 2015).
- As mentioned, a specific hygiene-related health impact is the persistence of endemic trachoma, an eye infection, in remote and very remote Indigenous communities. Trachoma is caused by a bacterium that inflames the eye, and recurrent infection cause scarring of the eye and structural changes to the eyelid that can result in blindness. Trachoma is often correlated with factors such as limited access to clean water. An annual trachoma survey in 2013 found that identified risk and remote communities had incidences of 84% in children aged 5-9 years and 30% in adults aged 40 years or older.