Bill Gates pushes clean-toi­let tech­nol­ogy

The Myanmar Times - - World -

PLAC­ING a jar of fe­ces on a pedestal next to him, bil­lion­aire phi­lan­thropist Bill Gates made a plea Tues­day for the safe dis­posal of hu­man waste as he kicked off a “Rein­vented Toi­let” Expo in China.

“You might guess what’s in this beaker — and you’d be right. Hu­man fe­ces,” the for­mer CEO of soft­ware gi­ant Mi­crosoft said. “This small amount of fe­ces could con­tain as many as 200 tril­lion ro­tavirus cells, 20 bil­lion Shigella bac­te­ria, and 100,000 par­a­sitic worm eggs.”

He went on to say that pathogens like these cause dis­eases that kill nearly 500,000 chil­dren un­der the age of 5 ev­ery year.

More than 20 com­pa­nies and aca­demic in­sti­tu­tions are ex­hibit­ing new toi­let tech­nolo­gies at the three-day expo in Bei­jing, from self-con­tained toi­lets to a small-scale, self-pow­ered waste treat­ment plant called the Omni Pro­ces­sor.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion that Gates co-founded with his wife has spent more than $200 mil­lion since 2011 to stim­u­late re­search and devel­op­ment of safe san­i­ta­tion tech­nol­ogy.

“The tech­nolo­gies you’ll see here are the most sig­nif­i­cant ad­vances in san­i­ta­tion in nearly 200 years,” he said, ac­cord­ing to a text of his pre­pared re­marks.

UNICEF es­ti­mates that 4.5 bil­lion peo­ple world­wide do not have ac­cess to safely man­aged san­i­ta­tion, and that 480,000 chil­dren un­der 5 die ev­ery year from di­ar­rhea, pri­mar­ily in South Asia and sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa. There is an eco­nomic cost too: Poor san­i­ta­tion cost the world nearly $223 bil­lion in 2015, ac­cord­ing to a study by Ox­ford Eco­nom­ics and Ja­pa­nese toi­let maker Lixil.

Gates left the fe­ces on dis­play for about 10 min­utes be­fore re­mov­ing it, his point made. – AP

Photo: AP

Bill Gates, for­mer Mi­crosoft CEO and co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion, speaks as a jar of hu­man fe­ces sits on a podium at the Rein­vented Toi­let Expo in Bei­jing on Tues­day.

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