Bill Gates brandishes poo to showcase reinvented toilet tech

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

"I have to say, a decade ago I never imagined that I'd know so much about poop", Mr Gates joked at the conference.

Gates said that the foundation plans to invest an additional 200 million US dollars into supporting continued R&D efforts that can help bring down the costs of new sanitation products for the poor and bolster development in regions where new, non-sewered sanitation products can have the greatest impact.

BILL Gates has stunned a crowd in Beijing after he brandished a jar of human faeces towards them.

"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.

Poor sanitation kills half a million children under the age of five annually and costs the globe over $200 billion a year in healthcare costs and lost income, according to the foundation.

They recognised the need to provide sanitation as a step to reducing poverty.

"Our goal is to be at 5 cents a day of cost", Gates said in a telephone interview before the exhibition. "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.

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On this invention, he worked for about seven years. So these toilets internalize the sewage treatment process and turn human waste into drinking water, agricultural fertilizer, or even energy-one proposed design turns human waste into hydrogen and then stores it in hydrogen fuel cells.

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.

The toilet took years of development and it is now ready for sale.

Mr Gates is known for using shock tactics to draw attention to his disease-battling efforts. He estimated that by 2030, it would be worth about US$6 billion a year worldwide. LIXIL, a company in Japan, also indicated that it might pilot a household-level reimagined toilet in the near future.

In China, the foundation is working with three local partners to improve toilet facilities.

It has been introduced in primary schools, temples and tourist spots in Yixing, Jiangsu province and has capacity for 300 to 2,500 flushes a day, costing about 15 United States cents each time.

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