Published: Thu, November 08, 2018

Bill Gates holds jar with poop at China's toilet revolution event

Bill Gates holds jar with poop at China's toilet revolution event

'It's a good reminder that in (the jar) there could be 200 trillion rotavirus cells, 20 billion Shigella bacteria, and 100,000 parasitic worm eggs'.

At a technology exhibition in China, Microsoft founder bill gates showed a "toilet of the future", which can run without water and connect to sewer.

The reinvented toilet is a collection of innovative technologies that use different approaches to break down human waste and destroy germs, and leave behind clean water and solids that can be used as fertilizer or disposed of safely outdoors without further treatment, Gates said.

Poor sanitation kills half a million children under the age of five annually and costs the world over US$200 billion (S$273 billion) a year in healthcare costs and lost income, according to Mr Gates' foundation.

The stunt was part of his speech at the Reinvented Toilet Expo event - a showcase for new toilet technologies.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has spent more than $200m on researching the field across the last seven years. "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.

There are multiple designs of the toilet, but all work by separating liquid and solid waste.

He declared that "today we are on the cusp of a sanitation revolution" and promised the most significant advances in the field for nearly 200 years. "We can help jump-start a new era of safe sanitation for the 21st century by developing solutions that can leapfrog today's existing infrastructure, functioning anywhere and everywhere". Every dollar invested in sanitation yields about $5.50 in global economic returns, according to the World Health Organization.

"Human waste that is properly handled can be a very economically attractive investment due to the health benefits", said Guy Hutton, a senior adviser for water, sanitation and hygiene with Unicef in NY, in an interview.

"All of them remove the pathogens from the waste and, most importantly, they don't have to be connected to the sewer system", Gates added.

The foundation has said they hope the reinvented toilet will first roll out in buildings like schools and apartment buildings, before costs gradually decline and they become affordable in households.

The world's two largest economies have been engaged in a tit-for-tat trade war over tariffs for much of the year. He went to say that the situation will get worse if nothing is done about it.

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