Green nephrology

Nat Rev Nephrol. 2020 May;16(5):257-268. doi: 10.1038/s41581-019-0245-1. Epub 2020 Feb 7.


Clear evidence indicates that the health of the natural world is declining globally at rates that are unprecedented in human history. This decline represents a major threat to the health and wellbeing of human populations worldwide. Environmental change, particularly climate change, is already having and will increasingly have an impact on the incidence and distribution of kidney diseases. Increases in extreme weather events owing to climate change are likely to have a destabilizing effect on the provision of care to patients with kidney disease. Ironically, health care is part of the problem, contributing substantially to resource depletion and greenhouse gas emissions. Among medical therapies, the environmental impact of dialysis seems to be particularly high, suggesting that the nephrology community has an important role to play in exploring environmentally responsible health-care practices. There is a need for increased monitoring of resource usage and waste generation by kidney care facilities. Opportunities to reduce the environmental impact of haemodialysis include capturing and reusing reverse osmosis reject water, utilizing renewable energy, improving waste management and potentially reducing dialysate flow rates. In peritoneal dialysis, consideration should be given to improving packaging materials and point-of-care dialysate generation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Footprint
  • Climate Change*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Kidney Diseases / therapy
  • Nephrology*
  • Waste Management*