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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Inventing a Toilet for the 21st Century | Bill Gates, Impatient Optimists

At a "Reinvent the Toilet Fair" in Seattle, Bill Gates announced on July 14 the winners of an effort to develop “next-generation” toilets that will deliver safe and sustainable sanitation to the 2.5 billion people worldwide who don’t have it.

For the fair, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation brought together about 200 grantees, partners, and others who are passionate about creating safe, effective, and inexpensive sanitation services for people without access to flush toilets.

Gates writes: 
Toilets are extremely important for public health, and – when you think of it – even human dignity. For most of us living in the developed world, we often don’t give them much thought. ...
The flush toilets we use in the wealthy world are irrelevant, impractical and impossible for 40 percent of the global population, because they often don’t have access to water, and sewers, electricity, and sewage treatment systems.
And he concludes:
Inventing new toilets is one of the most important things we can do to reduce child deaths and disease and improve people’s lives. It is also something that can help wealthier countries conserve fresh water for other important purposes besides flushing.
We don’t have all the answers yet, but I’m optimistic that we can and will solve this problem. I’m hopeful that this unusual summer fair will be a positive step toward that important goal.
This articles is featured today (Aug. 15) in Garbl's Good Cause Communications--available at the Nonprofit Communications tab above and by free email subscription.

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