Bill Gates brandishes poo to showcase reinvented toilet tech


"This expo showcases, for the first time, radically new, decentralized sanitation technologies and products that are business-ready", said Gates during the opening plenary of the Reinvented Toilet Expo."It's no longer a question of if we can reinvent the toilet and other sanitation systems".

"I have to say, a decade ago I never imagined that I'd know so much about poop", Gates told the crowd during the opening plenary.

This stinky stunt at the showcase for new toilet technologies was sure to get people talking about sanitation, a pet cause of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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

"The current toilet simply sends the waste away in the water, whereas these toilets don't have the sewer", Gates said.

'They take both the liquids and solids and do chemical work on it, including burning it in most cases'. "These and other pathogens cause diseases like diarrhea, cholera, and typhoid that kill almost 500,000 children under the age of 5 every year", Gates explained.

Gates' foundation has committed about $200 million to the toilet project and expects to spend the same amount again before the toilets are viable for wide-scale distribution.

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"In the way that a personal computer is sort of self contained, not a enormous thing, we can do this chemical processing at the household level", he said.

"This year the volume of toilets will literally be in the 100s while people are still kicking tires (testing them)", Gates said.

During a speech at the Beijing event, Gates held up a clear jar of human faeces to illustrate the importance of improving sanitation.

The entrepreneur was helping to launch the three-day event in China - where leader Xi Jinping has made a so-called "toilet revolution" across the country a policy priority.

'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'.

There were over a dozen different redesigned toilets on display at the expo and Gates hopes that some of these will eventually prove not just useful and affordable but profitable, with reinvented toilet technology being a $6 billion global market by 2030.