Bill Gates Shows Jar Of Human Waste At China's Expo To Address Toilet Problems Of The World

Bill Gates
(Photo: Wikimedia)

On Tuesday, Bill Gates opened the three-day Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing, giving companies a chance to show their takes on the simple bathroom fixture. He wants everyone to notice that poor sanitation is a serious matter affecting almost half of the world's population and he thinks the world should have better toilets, particularly toilets that will improve hygiene.

The billionaire philanthropist said he has been investing to find the best solution to the problem over the past seven years. His charity already spent US$200 million on research and development to cut down the cost of providing clean and safe facilities to developing countries, specifically the places without sewers, and planning to spend another US$200 million on the project.

During the expo hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Microsoft founder said they all gathered for one reason - almost half of the world's population does not have clean and safe sanitation so they should have productive and healthy lives. He showed a jar of human waste at the stage to make his point clearer, noting it contains pathogens causing typhoid, diarrhea, and cholera - killing approximately 500,000 kids under the age of five in areas with no proper sanitation.

Gates said he became aware of this problem after visiting poor place along with his wife, Melinda Gates. He saw kids were playing in lanes strewn containing human waste and where water has been contaminated. He said that recognizing the need to provide proper sanitation is a step in reducing poverty.

According to the South China Morning Post, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for toilet improvement across the country three years ago - a campaign called "toilet revolution". Initially, the focus of the campaign is only for tourists, but it was eventually expanded nationwide to cities and rural areas. But still, about 57 million households do not have their toilets, and 17 million of those were facing serious hygiene problems - majority those living in the countryside.

To solve sanitation problems, Gates said developing countries need to make a new multibillion-dollar business opportunity. By the year 2030, he estimated the worth would be around US$6 billion per year worldwide. The foundation is particularly working with three local partners to improve toilet facilities in China. Among them is Eco-San, where it developed a system that's able to treat human waste, as well as filtering and recycling the flushing water.

The system was already introduced in tourist spots, primary schools, and temples in Yixing, Jiangsu province. It has the capacity of 300 to 2,500 flushes a day - cost about 15 US cents each time.

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