Beijing: Being one of the world’s richest men and a philanthropist, Bill Gates must always have his hands full, just not with poop! On Tuesday, the founder of Microsoft surprised everyone when he displayed a jar containing human waste at a forum on the future of toilets in Beijing.
It was his effort to draw attention to the problem of the lack of enough toilets, affecting developing countries around the world.
“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. “And that’s what kids when they are out playing, they 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 nearly half of the world’s population that needs it. “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 was in Beijing on Tuesday for the “Reinvented Toilet Expo”, a forum hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation showcasing various cutting edge toilet technology in lieu of sewers, making them easier and cheaper to install the devices.
The world’s number two economy is in the midst of a drive to improve its notoriously malodorous bathrooms, a campaign President Xi Jinping 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.”
Gates has previously used shock tactics to draw attention to his disease-battling efforts. In 2009, he loosed mosquitoes at a Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) Conference in California to make a point about the deadly sting of malaria — waiting a minute or so before assuring the audience the liberated insects were disease-free.
(With inputs from AFP)