Saturday, 24 August, 2019

With poo on the podium, Bill Gates talks toilet technology | AP business

Bill Gates points at a jar containing human feces as he makes a point about the dangers of primitive sanitation Bill Gates points at a jar containing human feces as he makes a point about the dangers of primitive sanitation
Deanna Wagner | 08 November, 2018, 23:23

He said that small amount of faeces could contain 200 trillion rotavirus cells, 20 billion shigella bacteria, and 100,000 parasitic worm eggs.

As one of the world's richest men and most active philanthropists, Bill Gates usually has his hands full.

The stunt was part of his speech at the Reinvented Toilet Expo event - a showcase for new toilet technologies. "And I certainly couldn't think Melinda will have to ask me to refrain from talking about toilets and faecal sludge at the dinner table", he said.

The three-day event took place in China, where President Xi Jinping has made the "toilet revolution" a key priority.

Twenty of the hi-tech toilets are on show at the expo - all of them taking a different approach to break down human waste and destroy germs, leaving behind clean water or solids that can be used as fertiliser or safely disposed outdoors.

"The technologies you'll see here are the most significant advances in sanitation in almost 200 years", Gates, 63, told the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing on Tuesday.

According to the World Health Organization, around 2.3 billion people still do not have basic sanitation facilities such as toilets or latrines. "It's a question of how quickly this new category of off-grid solutions will scale", he said.

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However, it said, operations would be maintained and the use of reserves would mean there would be no interruption to supply. The ATSB is investigating the incident and expects its report will be complete in the second quarter of 2019.

Poor sanitation kills half a million children under the age of five every year.

The foundation funded scientists to invent toilets that are self-contained - they take human waste, kill unsafe pathogens and convert the resulting material into products with potential commercial value, like clean water, electricity and fertilizer. "As we have all these newer cities with lots of less wealthy people in them, those sewers have not been built and in fact, it's not likely they will ever be, so the question is, could you do it?"

Without cost-effective alternatives to sewers and waste-treatment facilities, urbanization and population growth will add to the burden.

The Gates Foundation hopes to instal reinvented toilets in schools and apartment buildings until they become cheap enough for individual families to afford.

Mr Gates said it would be a mistake for the U.S. to cut aid.

Gates' trip comes amid trade tension between China and the United States, the world's two largest economies, which have slapped tit-for-tat tariffs on goods worth billions of dollars.