Gates gets behind China’s loo revolution’
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.
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.