Gates gets be­hind China’s loo rev­o­lu­tion’

The Phnom Penh Post - - WORLD -

AS ONE of the world’s rich­est men and most ac­tive phi­lan­thropists, Bill Gates usu­ally has his hands full. Just not with poop.

So it c a me a s a su r pr i se when t he founder of Mi­cros of t br a nd i s he d a j a r of hu­man waste at a fo­rum on t he f uture of t he toi­let in Beijing on Tues­day.

The stunt was an ef­fort to draw at­ten­tion to a prob­lem af­fect­ing de­vel­op­ing coun­tries around the world: not enough toi­lets.

“In places with­out san­i­ta­tion you have got way more than that,” Gates said, point­ing to the fae­ces in­side the clear can­is­ter rest­ing on a ta­ble.

“And that’s what kids when they are out play­ing, they are be­ing ex­posed to all the time, and that’s why we con­nect this not just with qual­ity of life, but with dis­ease and death and with mal­nu­tri­tion,” he told those in at­ten­dance.

T he bi l l iona i re sa id t hat more than half of the world’s popu lat ion su f fers wit hout clean, com­fort­able san­i­ta­tion faci l it ies.

“When you think of things that are ba­sic right up there with health and enough to eat, you think that hav­ing a rea­son­able toi­let cer­tainly be­longs on that list,” Gates said.

Aid ‘threat­ened’

Gates has pre­vi­ously used shock tac­tics to draw at­ten­tion to his dis­ease-bat­tling ef­forts.

In 2009, he re­leased mos­qui­toes at a Tech­nol­ogy, En­ter­tain­ment, De­sign (Ted) Con­fer­ence in Cal­i­for­nia to make a point about the deadly sting of malaria – wait­ing a minute or so be­fore as­sur­ing the au­di­ence the lib­er­ated in­sects were dis­ease-free.

Gates was in Beijing on Tues­day for the “Rein­vented Toi­let Expo”, a fo­rum hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion show­cas­ing cut­ting edge toi­let tech­nol­ogy in lieu of sew­ers, mak­ing them eas­ier and cheaper to in­stall the de­vices.

The world’s number two econ­omy is in the midst of a drive to im­prove its no­to­ri­ously mal­odor­ous bath­rooms, a cam­paign Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping has dubbed the “toi­let rev­o­lu­tion”.

“China has made great progress in im­prov­ing health and san­i­ta­tion for mil­lions of peo­ple,” Gates said.

“China has an op­por­tu­nit y to launch a new cat­e­gor y of in­no­vated non-sew­ered sanit at ion s olut ions t hat w i l l benef it mi l l ion s of peo­ple world­wide.”

Ac­cord­ing to Unicef, 892 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide have no choice but to defe­cate in the open.

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