Wed, Nov 07, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Bill Gates backs Beijing’s drive to reinvent toilets

MALODOrOUS LOO:Bill Gates told a forum on the future of the toilet that a reasonable toilet belongs on a list of basic human rights, along with food and health

AFP, BEIJING

Microsoft founder Bill Gates gives a speech during the “Reinvented Toilet Expo” in Beijing, China, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

As one of the world’s richest men and most active philanthropists, Bill Gates usually has his hands full — just not with poop.

It came as a surprise when the founder of Microsoft yesterday brandished a jar of human waste at a forum on the future of the toilet in Beijing.

The stunt was an effort to draw attention to a problem affecting developing countries around the world: not enough toilets.

“In places without sanitation, you have got way more than that,” Gates said, pointing to the feces inside the clear canister resting on a table.

“That’s what kids, when they are out playing, are being exposed to all the time, and that’s why we connect this not just with quality of life, but with disease and death and with malnutrition,” he told attendees.

The billionaire has used part of his considerable fortune to provide clean, comfortable sanitation facilities to the nearly one-half of the world’s population that suffers without.

“When you think of things that are basic right up there with health and enough to eat, you think that having a reasonable toilet certainly belongs on that list,” Gates said.

Gates has previously used shock tactics to draw attention to his disease-battling efforts.

In 2009, he loosed mosquitoes at a Technology, Entertainment, Design Conference in California to make a point about the deadly sting of malaria — waiting a minute or so before assuring the audience that the liberated insects were disease-free.

Gates was in Beijing yesterday for the “Reinvented Toilet Expo,” a forum hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that showcases various cutting-edge toilet technologies in lieu of using sewers, making it easier and cheaper to install the devices.

The world’s No. 2 economy is in the midst of a drive to improve its notoriously malodorous bathrooms, a campaign that Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) has dubbed the “toilet revolution.”

“China has made great progress in improving health and sanitation for millions of people,” Gates said. “China has an opportunity to launch a new category of innovated non-sewered sanitation solutions that will benefit millions of people worldwide.”

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