Bill Gates uses poop to show off pi­o­neer­ing toi­let

The New Paper - - NEWS -

BEI­JING As one of the world’s rich­est men and most ac­tive phi­lan­thropists, Mr Bill Gates usu­ally has his hands full – this time with a jar of poop.

The founder of Mi­crosoft bran­dished a jar of hu­man waste at a fo­rum on the fu­ture of the toi­let in Bei­jing yes­ter­day.

It 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,” Mr Gates said, point­ing to the fae­ces in­side the clear can­is­ter rest­ing on a ta­ble.

“That is what kids (are ex­posed to all the time) when they are out play­ing. That is why we con­nect this not just with qual­ity of life, but with dis­ease, death and with mal­nu­tri­tion.”

He then in­tro­duced a fu­tur­is­tic toi­let that does not need wa­ter or sew­ers and uses chem­i­cals to turn hu­man waste into fer­tiliser. Mr Gates also lauded the glob­alised and free trade sys­tems that made the toi­let tech­nol­ogy pos­si­ble.

“I hon­estly be­lieve trade al­lows ev­ery coun­try to do what it’s best at,” he told Reuters in an in­ter­view yes­ter­day.

“So when I talk about com­po­nents of this toi­let be­ing made in China, oth­ers in Thai­land, oth­ers in the US – you re­ally want to be bring­ing to­gether all of that IQ so that you’re get­ting that com­bi­na­tion.”

The toi­let, which is ready for sale, is the brain­child of re­search projects funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion. There are mul­ti­ple de­signs but all work by sep­a­rat­ing liq­uid and solid waste.

“The cur­rent toi­let sim­ply sends the waste away in the wa­ter, whereas these (new) toi­lets don’t have the sewer. They take both the liq­uids and solids and do chem­i­cal work on it, in­clud­ing burn­ing it in most cases,” Mr Gates said.

Poor san­i­ta­tion kills half a mil­lion chil­dren un­der five an­nu­ally and costs the globe more than US$200 bil­lion (S$275 bil­lion) a year in health­care and lost in­come, said the foun­da­tion.

It has com­mit­ted roughly US$200 mil­lion to the toi­let project and ex­pects to spend the same amount again be­fore the toi­lets are vi­able for wide-scale dis­tri­bu­tion. – AFP, REUTERS

PHOTO: AFP

Mr Bill Gates ges­tur­ing to the jar at a fo­rum on the fu­ture of the toi­let in Bei­jing.

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